How Welfare Units Can Encourage Women to Work in Construction
Blog-March 8, 2022
Gender equality is still a major issue for the construction industry. Around 10% of the construction workforce is currently female¹. But 86.7% of those women are in office positions – and only 2.5% work directly in the field².
This suggests that women in our industry face their biggest difficulties onsite. And in order to increase gender equality, we must offer a more inclusive environment in which female employees can thrive.
In this article, we explore why construction sites are still a great opportunity for women – and how leaders can adapt their sites to encourage greater female participation.
CULTURE IS THE KEY
The primary barrier to increased female participation on construction sites is cultural. There are long-standing stereotypes that plague the industry. And these stereotypes ultimately create a sense of alienation and exclusion for women onsite.
A report published in 2020 showed that 72% of women in construction had experienced some form of gender discrimination in the workplace³. 80% of women say they feel left out at on-site socialising⁴. And 37% believe they are consistently excluded from male conversations at work⁵.
Other issues include the cleanliness of facilities; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) not fitting female employees; and pervasive ideas about construction being fundamentally “men’s work”.
HOW WELFARE UNITS CAN CHANGE CULTURE
Mobile welfare units and welfare vans are often an afterthought – a mere practical necessity. But the reality is many of the cultural problems we have discussed are directly affected by the type of welfare units you choose to place onsite.
From the quality of facilities to the amount of space provided for socialising, welfare units can increase camaraderie and facilitate a happier, more inclusive social atmosphere. This is far from a silver bullet for the problem of gender imbalance, of course. But it can go a long way to creating an onsite culture, which is more accommodating to female workers.
Let’s take our ECOXLi unit as an example. It provides far larger space than other typical welfare units, with dynamic spaces. But that’s not all: there is controlled heating, to ensure the space is comfortable at all times.
There are separate water-flush ceramic toilets and WC/changing rooms, to ensure privacy and optimal hygiene for all employees. And the Smart Water WC facilities are the cleanest and most efficient on the market.
The XL canteen area provides a comfortable and spacious break area with a fully equipped kitchen. Plus there is a drying facility for PPE and an extra large 2-person office.
The result is clear: employee wellbeing is dramatically improved, and the on-site dynamic is far more friendly and inclusive.
THE CLEAREST WAY TO IMPROVE ON-SITE CULTURE
The GMB predicts it will take 200 years to achieve full gender equality, based on current trends⁶. But we believe that improving on-site wellbeing will bring about much faster changes. And introducing innovative welfare units is just one, easy-to-implement way of doing that.
Found out more on how our dynamic, modern welfare units can enhance Wellbeing here.