Equal opportunities for women is one of the main aspects that must be improved in society. The construction industry has traditionally been a male sector, a condition that has been justified, among other issues, by the harsh conditions of work. However, the evolution of the sector towards greater mechanization makes it possible for men and women to access and execute the same professional tasks with equal rights and opportunities.
On the other hand, new jobs have been created thanks to activities derived from energy efficiency or ‘green’ constructions that offer an encouraging horizon for specialized professionals, women and men.
But the feminization of the construction industry encounters various difficulties:
- Intrinsic barriers: women do not see themselves as construction workers; there are no options for them or they are not able to do the work.
- Barriers to the labor market: there is the possibility that a job done by a woman is considered less professional by companies or clients.
- Barriers with their own colleagues.
In short, it is about awakening awareness and advocating for equal opportunities, improving the social conditions of the sector, promoting professionalization, through quality training; and promoting labor insertion, with the activation of the labor market.
The objectives that the Women can build project faces are the following:
- Make a paradigm shift in the construction sector, which is more egalitarian, attractive and socially responsible, through training.
- Remove cultural barriers and improve the sensitivity of women to this sector.
- Capture the attention of women towards the construction industry, emphasizing those activities with more possibilities of achieving an effective insertion in the labor market.
- Provide Vocational Training centers (VT) with a gender perspective that allows them to rethink their training approach and look for opportunities for a more egalitarian sector.
- Establish advisory measures that facilitate the transition of the construction industry towards greater awareness and gender balance.
- Achieve the recognition of gender competencies and create the conditions that allow the realization of new programs with a better performance.
- To achieve the expected success, this initiative is aimed at women in situations of long-term unemployment, although it will be especially aimed at any woman at risk of social exclusion and young women.
Promoting gender equality in construction
Within the activities and results of this project:
- Moocs (Massive Open On line Courses) courses will be developed focused on gender sensitivity and manual for vocational training trainers in the construction sector.
- The “learning-by-doing” model with an immersive experience will be fostered, in which a group of women will carry out the construction, on a small scale, of a Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB).
- Guides will be created for VET centres for the development of mentoring skills for women.
- An action plan will be defined, with a roadmap and support services for companies.
- A recognition system and a teletraining platform will be established.
Although it is not the first time that work is being done to integrate women into the construction industry and gender equality, normally in local areas, the Women Can Build project aims to be a case of good practice, with an impact on the European Union, which can be transferred to other countries and institutions.