Achieving gender equality in the construction professions: Lessons from the career decisions of women construction students in the UK

Powell, A., Dainty, A. and Bagilhole, B. (2010) Achieving gender equality in the construction professions: Lessons from the career decisions of women construction students in the UK. In: UNSPECIFIED.

Full content URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2010-05...

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

In the UK women remain under-represented in the construction workforce, despite calls for gender equality. Research into the persistence of gender inequality in construction has investigated barriers and solutions to women's recruitment, retention and progression in the industry. It is thought that recruitment into the industry can be supported by developing an understanding of the influences on those women that have entered construction. Using qualitative interview data, this paper explores the career decisions of women studying construction-related courses in the UK. Existing research has identified some of the factors that influence women's career choices, including key people, such as parents and teachers, existing knowledge of construction professions, skills and ability, and perceived career rewards. These factors underline the need to raise awareness of the industry from an early age and to tackle gendered socialization processes. This research, however, goes further by analysing women's identity through their career decisions, considering the implications of this for improving gender equality in construction. Specifically it finds that identity is often contested ground for women construction students who, at times, uphold gendered stereotypes about women's suitability for so-called 'masculine' work such as construction, yet also subscribe to an ideal that the sector is accessible to all who want to work in it. Unlike most career choice research, this highlights the problematic nature of entrenched gender stereotypes and the need to consider the views of women in the sector when striving for cultural change aimed at achieving gender equality.

Additional Information:cited By 7
Divisions:College of Social Science
ID Code:39987
Deposited On:27 Jan 2020 15:32

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