As all our brave interviewees mentioned, women can contribute enormously to this market in how they make things “in a different way”. When they are unable to do this, society as a whole loses. Here is how this happens.
The inequality between the male and female workforce in the construction industry is undeniable, at 89% to just 11% workers respectively around the world. While this reality directly impacts women in construction, it affects even more the whole society we live in. It is worth noting, that this article is not about a gender war, even less about if any identity is better. There is no better gender! During our research, we uncovered many inequalities that our interviewees shared with us. They are real and they discourage other women from joining the market. These inequalities need to be addressed. With this article and report, we intend to aim higher. As all our brave interviewees mentioned, we, as women, can contribute enormously to this market in how we make things “in a different way”. When we are unable to do this, society as a whole loses. Here is why including female perspective is important for running a successful construction company:
In general,women and men naturally think through different prisms. This is not about capability. Both are equally capable and can actually see through both prisms with practice, a skill they should exercise more often. Yet, usually they do not. Let us dig deeper into these differences by taking a look at the following projects:
These fit-out projects were designed by Zoe Moss, one of our research supporters. Through these three projects, made by the same person, we can see not only different styles, but also different approaches and characteristics. The first two projects present more femininity. Among the most common feminine characteristics seen in construction projects are:
✔ Attention to detail
✔ Human touch
Again, we are not stating that these are exclusive to women only and that men are incapable of presenting these characteristics. Not at all! Even so, usually these characteristics are more often brought to the table by women or feminine minds. The third project presents a minimalist touch, less colourful and more practical, generally seen as more masculine. Certainly, the three projects had different briefings with their respective owners aiming for different solutions that should stimulate people who visit or work in those places in different ways, resulting in distinctive feelings.
Many times, women themselves forget feminine characteristics or even put them aside to better fit the male-dominated industry. When this happens, we ALL lose out even more with the already fewer female workers putting their valuable perspectives to the side instead of embracing them. The feminine perspective could be the answer to a client's needs, the solution for communication issues, or the better method for safer construction sites. Women in construction need to voice their ideas, especially when they differ from main ones. Diversity can benefit us all.
Often, society forgets how important these feminine characteristics are. Imagine yourself in a world that is quite practical, functional and rational, commonly-regarded as male characteristics, but with no “colour”, no beauty, no warmness! How sad this world would be! Can you imagine the impact it would have on people’s lives, humor and behavior? Feminine characteristics bring joy to everybody.
Almost everything physical around us is either construction or construction related. Everywhere we go, from home, to work, to leisure places and even the places we go through just to arrive at our destination, are all constructed. Houses, buildings, roads, bridges, parks, fit-outs, decoration, the list goes on. We are surrounded by the results of the construction industry - everyone throughout the world is impacted by it - unless a person were to live in caves with no human interaction or in the woods without housing, like a wild animal. The construction industry is vital for humankind in the 21st century, we cannot conceive life without it. We all gain a lot from it, as it makes our lives not only viable, but also in most cases better.
All aspects of construction impact our daily lives, in the way we work, the way we move, the way we think and even in the way we feel. This also works in reverse - we are able to express ourselves through our homes, apartments, companies and in their decoration. Therefore, it is clear that the more possibilities, the better for all society. In the current setting where there is a lack of femininity, greater representation means even more new possibilities. We could even see bold new perspectives changing traditional scenarios with fresh solutions.
However, beauty, functionality and how we feel about different constructions depends mainly on the viewer's mind. Look at what Google did to the office industry with colourful individual sets, and even adding non-functional children's slides just for their employees ‘feelings’. From their choice of colors to their ‘think outside the box’ approach, all the details express their brand personality and how they expect their employees to think and work. Some people may not fit there, and others may love it!
There is no right or wrong, but there are different possibilities and women can bring many more to the table. This can easily be expanded to diverse jobs positions within the industry, as impressive examples as seen in our research, and not only the visual ones illustrated in this article. Together, men and women will highly benefit society with new diverse scenarios, functionalities and landscapes, bringing more new possibilities to all. Sure, we need balance, and right now, this actually means we need to increase the female perspective in the construction industry alongside the male one already very well established.