BUILDING OUR FUTURE TOGETHER
Women in Construction
By Daphne Hart
The following article appeared in the NLCA Journal- Issue 2012.
To view the article as it appeared please click below:
NLCA Article - 2012.jpg
Changing Paradigms: Making the Shift to Include Women on Construction Sites
With the current robust developments in our construction sector (estimated at $580 million in St. John's and the surrounding area alone)
and the large, resource-based projects happening in Newfoundland and Labrador, companies are preparing for the boom. Atlantic Provinces
Economic Council (APEC) has identified 103 projects totalling $43.6 billion taking place in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The
question we've been asking ourselves is: Where will employers find workers to fill the labour demand? The increase in demand for construction
workers, coupled with an aging workforce, has resulted in the need for industry to tap all potential sources of labour, including women (Construction
Moving Forward 2008-2016, Key Highlights, Construction Sector Council, 2008).
Women in Resource Development Corporation (WRDC) believes that increasing women's participation in the construction trades is part of the
solution for the projected skilled labour shortage. Industrial employers have indicated that the inclusion of female labour is desirable but not
happening quickly enough. Today, women make up approximately 50% of our provincial labour force, yet they represent less than 7% of the
workforce in trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations. In the construction trades not including painters and decorators
women represent 4% (Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey 2010, Prepared by the Newfoundland & Labrador Statistics Agency, Department
of Finance). This low participation rate means that there is great opportunity for women!
There are still many barriers to female participation in what has traditionally been the male-dominated construction industry. While women are being
trained in trades some are still unable to find employment and despite continued attempts to increase women's participation in trades and technology occupations
there is still resistance to female inclusion in the industrial workplace.
According to the Construction Sector Council's report The State of Women in Construction in Canada February 2010, many initiatives have been
undertaken over the years to increase women's participation in the construction industry. Research confirms that, while there has been some
progress, the industry has not moved the marker forward significantly.
Women represent a large, untapped human resource that can help meet the needs of the projected skills shortage. Like their male counterparts,
women just want to have a fulfilling job, an opportunity to utilize and hone the skills they've received through training, to be part of the team,
to get the job done on time and on budget, and to be well paid.
Solutions – WRDC Can Help
WRDC can assist contractors in increasing the number of tradeswomen employed. Established in 1997, WRDC is a nonprofit
organization committed to advancing the economic equality of women in Newfoundland and Labrador by
increasing their participation in high-paying trades and technology occupations that are primarily available in
the natural resource sector.
WRDC offers a suite of complementary products and services to assist employers in increasing female
participation in their workforce and to help contractors and industry meet their diversity requirements.
In fact, WRDC has just developed a new tool entitled, Thinking Forward: A Practical Guide–Increasing
Women's Participation in the Industrial Workplace. This "How To" guide has been designed specifically
for contractors and sub-contractors. We offer presentations and workshops on this booklet which we
can tailor to meet the needs of both large and small operators. Topics include: the business case for
equity, recruitment and retention strategies, and how to develop respectful workplaces. We have
also developed a set of posters for various industry sectors, including construction entitled "Women
Can…," these posters reinforce the fact that women can do the work in non-traditional occupations.
WRDC's intent is to work cooperatively with our stakeholders to ensure that, at this pivotal time in
our province's history, our women are included!
Now is the time to make positive and inclusive changes towards creating more diverse workplaces.
Together we can positively enhance the lives of both women and men of our province.
For more information on WRDC's programs and services, please contact:
Women In Resource Development Corporation (WRDC)
53 Bond Street, Suite 300, St. John's NL A1C 1S9
(709) 738-3713 • firstname.lastname@example.org
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