When we think about construction, the mental image conjured up is of a crew of men in hard hats, despite the fact that we live in the 21st century and “equality” is a big buzzword.
The construction industry is a traditionally male-dominated space. According to the National Construction Incubator (NCI): “The state of the construction sector within SA is unequal and discriminatory. According to the Construction Industry Development Board statistics, there are 437 women-owned contractors in Grades 7-9, which is only 1% of the total 40 065 women-owned contractors, the vast majority of whom are still in Grade 1. Although great strides have been made, gender representation is still below the 50% mark for positions that come with a great deal of influence.”
The good news is that progress is being made to balance the scales. Throughout the country, women are challenging the status quo and demanding better representation in the construction space.
“The NCI, which was formerly known as the SEDA Construction Incubator, is actively working towards reform in the construction sector. With our targets for female contractors exceeding 12%, this has contributed 3% above the target for jobs created in the first and second quarters, and an additional 139 temporary jobs created. [We] recently passed a milestone in making the industry one that’s inclusive and equal. Our company now comprises 83% female senior management. Patt Mazibuko is our new CEO, with Dr Joy Ndlovu chairing the board, something that wouldn’t have been possible in 2006, when the organisation first started,” it says.
Furthermore, work’s being done to support women contractors by giving them access to funding, mentorship and interpersonal development.
It’s time that women, who’ve long been the builders of society’s foundations by raising families, working to provide for them and ensuring the well-being of those they love, had a say in how the country’s construction shapes out. We salute them!