The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has released a research paper that explores why so few women are choosing a career in construction.
Over the past 12 months, Dr Phillippa Carnemolla, Senior Research Fellow at UTS, has investigated the perceptions of the construction industry by female high school students. Keeping in mind that women entering and remaining in the construction industry is well below parity, Dr Carnemolla’s research examines how construction is portrayed and perceived by the very women it hopes to attract as well as where they come from. Some of Dr Carnemolla’s research findings include:
- High school girls can’t visualise themselves in a construction career.
- Schools, teachers and parents are not recommending a career in construction to high school girls.
- There is a lack of understanding about the diverse scope of jobs and careers that comprise the construction industry.
- Parents’ perceptions of the industry are influential in steering students away from the industry.
In addition to exploring high school girls’ thoughts and opinions of the industry, Dr Carnemolla has analysed university data on female students who are interested in a career in construction. This combined data reveals both the perceptions of construction, and where interest is coming from, both important contributions when addressing the imbalances in the industry.
As a result of her research findings, Dr Carnemolla has made recommendations that will enable NAWIC, employer groups, leading companies and broader construction networks to better engage with high school girls and to communicate the potential for a construction career. This is turn will help lead to a more equitable industry where women fully participate.
Last year, Dr Carnemolla won the NAWIC International Women’s Day (IWD) Scholarship. The NAWIC International Women’s Day (IWD) Scholarship has been awarded annually since 2009. Thanks to the support of long-term scholarship sponsor CULT, NAWIC has invested a total of $200,000 to aid research that improves, benefits and empowers women in the construction industry.
Click here to download a full copy of the report.