IWD 2020: Women still suffer gender bias in construction industry
Biases and discrimination have continued to keep women out of the construction industry maintaining the status-quo in the historically male dominated field.
According to a new study on women representation in the built environment by the Women in Real Estate (WIRE) advocacy, gender discrimination persists in spite of an increase in number of women venturing into the country’s construction industry.
Echoes of the gender biases are seen in the distribution of women in the profession across the board with the study sourcing its data points from academia, regulatory bodies and professional associations.
Of the registered 763 architects only 90 are women representing a mere 11.8 per cent of the sub-total.
Further, only15.5 percent of 2645 contractors are female while the number of female artisans accredited by the National Construction Authority stands at 983 against a total of 34,298 professionals.
The distribution of women inside professional associations’ remains skewed with the Engineers Board of Kenya holding the least number of women by percentage terms at 7.3 per cent.
The Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya meanwhile stands at 352 in comparison to 1288 registered men.
Moreover, the skewed distribution holds true in academia with the total number of women enrolled to construction related courses including planning, real estate and construction management standing at 585.
The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) hold the highest number of enrolees with 440 with Kenyatta University holds 45 spots with the University of Nairobi (UON) representing the balance.
The highest number of female contractors are in road works stand at 1514 with forewomen standing at the lowest with only two professionals. Shockingly, there is only one female licentiate against 22 men.
The survey pins the low number of women in the profession to the negative perception that women’s capabilities do not suit construction work, the lack of mentoring and slow career progression.
Further, the study prompts existing organizations to create more forums to enlighten women on opportunities in the built environment and expose young girls to the construction world.
The revelation comes as gender diversity and inclusivity becomes a top priority for organizations and is ahead of the International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations on March 8 with this year’s campaign theme being ‘each for equal’.
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