Women in the construction industry

Construction is everywhere, since the human being came out of the cave the need to build a shelter with which to meet the basic need for security has been there. We have not changed much and today its economic relevance is clear, just look at the large annual contribution of 12.5% to the state GDP.
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In spite of the 2008 crisis, the construction sector continues to be one of the most powerful sectors and one that creates the most jobs at the national level, employing more than 1.3 million people in Spain. At the same time, it is still a highly masculinized sector. When we think of construction, do we relate it to women? And in our collective imagination, are we allowed to visualize it as a world where women are represented? Or is it still a man's world?

The answer is clear: the recent EPA (Labour Force Survey) data show that only 9.6% of the workers in the sector are women. This means that nine out of ten construction professionals are men.

Considering the roles represented by this percentage, women within the sector continue to hold positions related to more aesthetic issues such as: being decorators, interior designers... We can see that there is a change in the general trend towards the new generations, where there are more and more women architects, engineers... but there is still a long way to go to talk about parity within the sector. 

Because of this, we consider it of great importance to give a voice to those women who are actively involved in the construction sector. In this case, we had the opportunity to chat for a while with Mar, a woman who has been working as a construction manager for twenty-seven years.

For her, working in construction has been something that has been clear to her since she was a child, something passionate; "really for me, construction has been an illusion, creating houses, that dream, creating, creating, creating, is something that hooked me since I was a child". She has had no doubts and despite being a man's world that has not prevented her from devoting herself to what she likes the most.

In her early days, she attracted a lot of attention in the village because people were not used to seeing a woman on the construction site; "The first time I was a construction manager, I was an apprentice, and, oh my! there's a woman on the construction site! she's your daughter ..... They came to see me on the construction site from the other town.

For her, being a female site manager means "Responsibility, the same as a site manager, but you have to prove more, being a woman. In such a masculinized world, women have to prove their worth, especially in positions associated with management, and even more so when dealing with the site itself. 

On occasions, when closing a construction estimate, she has had to send a man to represent her because the client himself did not feel confident in closing a deal with a woman, in her own words; "one thing that has caught my attention, is to come to visit clients to make measurements, estimates... and you come alone? Who do you want me to come with then?"

We were able to talk about conciliation, passions, how the world of construction has been rebuilt, politics, how one of her dreams is that women who enter construction do not have to prove more than men and how when things are done from the heart, no matter the difficulties that come your way.

All this and much more, we will discuss in our first podcast: Women In The World Of Construction, where you can listen to the full interview with Mar and get a little closer to understanding what it means to be a woman in the world of construction.

Stay tuned because we will soon announce a new date :)

Maria Vaqueriza | August 1, 2022