Women in hard hats should not be a novelty

Ideas

Women in hard hats should not be a novelty

Only 12% of engineers in SA are women, which must be the result of something more complex than skills

Bongani Dladla

In 2021, unconscious bias and inherent patriarchal structures still remain huge barriers for women entering traditionally male-dominated fields. Despite our modern times, outdated perceptions persist, not just in the minds of men in the workplace, but even for those women seeking to climb the career ladder. What will it take to transform these inhibiting thought processes and drive true transformation in these sectors?

Working in the construction industry, I have seen how the culture of an organisation or industry can be a huge barrier to entry, discouraging those from participating. “The boys’ club” and the “construction fraternity” are dangerous terms still used today. We need to pay more attention to how we speak and act, foster a welcoming environment.

Women can succeed in the construction industry and there are business opportunities for those who are determined. So that women make up just 12% of engineers in SA and are still vastly underrepresented in the construction workforce, must come down to something more complex than skills and business opportunities...

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