Increasing numbers of female construction workers is key to solving Ireland’s housing and infrastructure crises.

This is according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).

Ahead of the launch of its first ‘Diversity and Inclusion Guidance’ document for the construction sector, aimed at addressing gender imbalance in the industry, key construction leaders said that more female workers are key to meeting the current demand for skills, and to deliver Ireland’s urgent housing and infrastructure needs.

“Increasing diversity and gender equality is not just the right thing to do, it is critical for our industry,” Jean Winters, director of industrial relations and employment services with CIF, said.

“A disengagement with construction is unconsciously driven by the education system at a very young age for girls. We have to tackle misconceptions about the industry at this level and this will form part of a national awareness campaign the CIF is undertaking to promote the diverse careers in the industry

The document is due for release at the CIF’s ‘Building Equality’ event this morning, the second event this year as part of the representative body’s year-long #BuildingEquality campaign to increase the number of women in the industry and the visibility of those already working in construction.

Speakers at this morning’s event include Phil Kane, country manager, Eaton Corporation Ireland, Minister of State David Stanton, Department of Justice and Equality, and Anne Heraty, founder and CEO of CPL Resources.

Earlier this year the CIF commissioned a survey to discover exactly how many women are working in the Irish construction industry, in what roles, and at what levels.
The survey also investigated the views of female workers currently working in the industry, as well as the views of employers regarding diversity and inclusion in construction.

The results found that over 70pc of construction companies recognise the need for more women in the industry. However, on average approximately only one in 10 construction workers are female.

The survey also found that on construction sites, 99pc of workers are male, whilst in offsite roles, 54pc are male and 46pc are female. Of those women working in construction roles considered ‘offsite’ the majority work in administration, finance, HR and marketing.

“There are major opportunities in the industry,” Ms Winters continued.

“The #BuildingEquality campaign asks male and female leaders in the industry to set the example and put equality of opportunity at the top of their agenda.”

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