This year, International Women’s day will be held on Sunday the 8th of March. But at MC Labour, we decided that a day of celebrating women and promoting gender equality simply wasn’t enough, so we have decided to dedicate a week.
From Monday the 2nd until Sunday the 8th of March, MC Labour will be hosting awareness-raising activities, recognising and honoring our amazing women on and off-site, and brainstorming tangible ways in which we can take action to help forge a more gender-equal world.
There are currently more women working than ever before. Around 60% of working-age Australian women are currently in the workforce, compared to around 70% of working-age men. This percentage of working-age females in the workforce has improved significantly over recent decades — from around 40% in the 1970s. But, according to CSQ, the construction industry remains an exception to this story of progress. In 2018, women made up less than 3% of the construction trades workers across Australia, a figure which has declined since 1987.
While across the construction industry women are severely underrepresented, there are some areas within the industry where women can be more easily found such as crane chaser, surveyor’s assistant, line marking and signwriting.
There are approximately 375,000 electricians, carpenters, and plumbers in Australia, collectively accounting for over 30% of all construction trades workers. Yet only 3,000 women participate in these three occupations nationwide — which is less than 1%.
The problem of female representation in the industry is frequently framed as an issue for women themselves, claiming the challenge to be persuading women to join the workforce. But this idea ignores the reality of why the construction environment is unappealing to many women. Not because of the manual labour, but because of the culture of construction and those who perpetrate it. The construction industry carries highly masculine values that are too often expressed as misogyny, homophily, or outright sexual harassment. It is this environment that turns so many women away from the construction industry and prevents us from improving the statistics of women in construction.
Our aim is to educate our workers, staff, and community about the issues in our industry surrounding gender equality and the unequal treatment of women in the workplace to create a safe and inclusive workplace for all.
This year the theme for International Women’s day is #EachforEqual. MC Labour recognises that an equal world is an enabled world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.
Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender-equal world.
Let’s all be #EachforEqual.
For more information about International Women’s Day, head to https://www.internationalwomensday.com/
For more information about women in the construction industry, head to https://www.nawic.com.au/NAWIC/eflash/CSQ2531_Women_in_Construction_2.pdf