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Report finds women in construction lack safety equipment, maternity PPE

A construction worker drinks water on a job site
Highlighted in the report, 67 percent of respondents cited a scarcity of gender-friendly safety equipment such as PPEs, safety harnesses, hard hats, etc. Adobe Stock Images

Lumber has released the 2024 "She Builds Nation" report, shedding light on the challenges faced by women in the construction industry. Lumber, a construction workforce management platform, developed this report from insights gathered from a survey of over 100 women construction owners, executives, and decision-makers, delving into critical issues impacting women in construction.

Highlights of the "She Builds Nation" report

Highlighted in the report, 67 percent of respondents cited a scarcity of gender-friendly – smaller-sized – safety equipment such as PPEs, safety harnesses, hard hats, etc., with 85 percent expressing concerns over the absence of maternity-friendly safety gear. Additionally, 64 percent of women reported the absence of women's restroom facilities at construction sites, highlighting a significant infrastructure gap to address their needs.

Despite these obstacles, the report also underscores positive trends, with 72 percent of respondents acknowledging increased opportunities for women's advancement within the industry. Moreover, 67 percent find integration into a predominantly male-centric environment relatively smooth, contingent upon the fostering of an inclusive organizational culture.

However, the survey reveals a nuanced landscape concerning gender equality and support structures. While 51 percent of respondents perceive equal pay opportunities for women, the remaining respondents voice concerns about pay parity and assertiveness in negotiation. Similarly, 55 percent express reservations regarding the adequacy of support systems available to women in construction, suggesting a need for enhanced awareness and access to existing resources.

Moreover, attracting and retaining female talent emerged as a significant challenge, with 52 percent of respondents citing difficulties in this regard. Respondents felt that addressing this requires the implementation of targeted outreach initiatives, mentorship programs, flexible scheduling options, and comprehensive training endeavours to increase female representation and retention within the industry.

Despite these hurdles, a prevailing sentiment of optimism pervaded the survey responses, with 66 percent of respondents affirming the existence of burgeoning career prospects and growth avenues for women in construction. As the industry continues to evolve, initiatives aimed at fostering inclusivity, equitable practices, and support mechanisms are poised to drive change and empower women to thrive in construction careers.

"In unveiling the 'She Builds Nation' report, we're not just shedding light on the challenges faced by women in construction; we're igniting a conversation and catalyzing action towards a more inclusive, equitable industry," said Shreesha Ramdas, CEO and founder of Lumber, said, 

"At Lumber, we're committed to empowering women in construction, and this report underscores the urgency of addressing systemic barriers and fostering environments where every individual can thrive. Together, we can build a future where diversity is celebrated, opportunities abound, and women play a pivotal role in shaping the construction landscape," said Meghan Schoen, Lumber's director of client relations.

Read the full report here.

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