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CITB marks International Women’s Day by releasing poll into gender equality in the construction sector

World Cement,

On 8 March 2015, International Women’s Day, the UK’s CITB released results of a poll into sexism in the construction industry. Approximately 1500 employers took part in the survey. The poll found that:

  • 73% of those taking part in the poll believe that a perception of a sexist culture is one of the main reasons why women are under-represented in the construction industry.
  • 78% think that a shortage of female role models in the sector is a reason why there are fewer women in construction.
  • 60% cite lack of awareness about the range of roles available to women as another reason why not as many women take up careers in the construction industry.
  • 76% of those surveyed think that greater career promotion in schools would help to improve opportunities for women.
  • 69% believe that better flexible working arrangements would lead to greater opportunities for women in the sector.
  • Men make up 85.5% of the total workforce and 98% of manual workers are male.

To address the gender imbalance within the construction industry, CITB has developed the Be Fair framework, which offers practical guidance and support to companies to help them make the workplace a more inclusive environment.

“The industry is on course for a major comeback, but we need a dynamic and diverse workforce to help deliver it. This poll shows that construction employers realise we are still a long way from overcoming the perceptions of sexism in our sector, which potentially keep women away. However, it is reassuring that firms are thinking critically about how to make construction more inclusive,” commented Gillian Econopouly, Head of Research at CITB.

“To attract the best skills and talent from all parts of society, we are challenging industry to make women and people from all backgrounds feel welcome and valued. One excellent way to do that is through the Be Fair Framework, which promotes the fair, inclusive and respectful industry we all want to see.”

Maria Pilfold, CITB Board Member and former Group HR Director of Taylor Wimpey, said: “When I joined the construction industry 20 years ago I was told by one worker that I should not be allowed on site as I was a woman. We have moved a long way from that, but there is still much to do to fully address perceptions of sexism.

“We need more female role models in the industry, and better career promotion in schools. Women need to know about the range of creative, flexible jobs available, with the opportunity to positively impact on the environment, travel and earn attractive salaries. Our industry needs more women in it, but we have to shout about what a great career construction is – for people of all backgrounds,” added Pilfold.

Adapted from press release by

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