Ep #85: From the Broken Rung to the Glass Ceiling: The Systemic Challenges Keeping Women Stuck - Part 2

May 28, 2024 • 12min


The construction and property industry is a powerhouse, but for women, navigating this sector can feel like climbing a wall with no footholds.


Systemic challenges—from ingrained stereotypes to inflexible work-life balance models—create a landscape that often pushes women to the sidelines.

 In our previous episode, I discussed many of the systemic challenges that women face.

Today I am breaking down how to work towards fixing the system. This isn't just about fairness; it's about untapped potential. A more inclusive construction industry is a stronger construction industry.

Here are some key areas where we can work together to dismantle the barriers and create a space where women can thrive.

  • Shattering the Stereotype Ceiling: Construction sites are no longer the exclusive domain of hard-hat-wearing men. Women are excelling in every facet of the industry, from wielding power tools on the ground floor to leading visionary projects in the executive suite. We need to dismantle outdated ideas and actively promote the diverse range of roles women can play in construction.
  • Building a Strong Foundation for Retention: Attracting new female talent is vital, but retaining the talent we already have is just as crucial. Alongside initiatives like "Next Generation by Urban Core" that focus on bringing new women into the field, let's not forget the experienced women who can bring their skills and perspectives to the table today.
  • Investing in Visibility and Education: Showcasing the achievements of women in construction is a powerful tool. Combine this with accessible training and development programs – from cadetships and micro-credentials to mentorship opportunities – and you've got a recipe for empowering women to not only enter the construction industry but flourish within it
  • Rethinking Work-Life Balance: The current system disproportionately burdens women with childcare and domestic responsibilities. We need to see a shift towards gender-neutral parental leave policies and increased participation from fathers. Additionally, exploring alternative work models like a five-day work week can benefit everyone's well-being.
  • Eradicating Bias: Gender bias can creep into the recruitment process, with unconscious prejudice influencing who gets hired. By removing identifying information from CVs, hiring managers can focus on qualifications, not assumptions. Openly acknowledging bias in performance reviews allows for self-reflection and course correction. Remember, bias is ingrained, but awareness is the first step to overcoming it.
  • The Power of Mentorship and Sponsorship: Mentorship, coaching, and sponsorship are all crucial for career development, especially for underrepresented groups. Sponsorship, in particular, requires male allies to champion women's advancement within their organisations.  


By working together, we can break down the barriers that hold women back in construction. It's a journey, but the destination is a stronger, more equitable industry for everyone.


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I acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which I conduct my business, the Wangal and Gadigal Peoples of the Eora Nation. I pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples.