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In the most recent CIF survey of the construction industry in Ireland, women made up just 8.49% of those working in the sector. As a nation, we faced many challenges throughout the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this was especially true for many women who were forced into care giving roles when schools and day care centres closed. Pre-existing gender gaps were amplified and halted progress towards gender parity in many industries.
While the pandemic was a setback for many, there is cause for optimism in Ireland. The 2021 World Economic Forum insight report (March 2021), the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated automation and digitalisation, speeding up labour market disruption, which we hope will allow for real change to happen. In fact, Ireland is one of the most improved countries in this study within the last year.
The CIF Commitment
While construction is a male dominated industry, we have a real opportunity to #BreakTheBias and increase gender equity. The CIF is committed to highlighting the opportunities and dispelling the idea that only men can work in construction. Jean Winters, CIF director highlighted the opportunities that exist for all women in the industry.
“Why can’t a woman drive a crane the same as a man?”, asked CIF director of industrial relations Jean Winters. “It’s like any career. You need to work hard, you need a certain amount of luck and you need competence. These are all gender neutral issues.”
That was a quote from 2017 and just five years later, Kate Fahey has personified this belief, becoming Ireland’s youngest and only female tower-crane operator. Kate hopes her success will encourage more women to consider a career in the building sector.
“Society’s general point of view is that this is a male dominated industry – it’s heavy work, a lot of lifting and carrying, and therefore is more suited to a man because of the physicality. That is no longer the case. With new methods and technology, there’s no reason why women can’t do the same jobs as men in the industry.”
#BreakTheBias and Inspire Others
Whether you realise it or not, you have the power to be an inspiring role model to women and girls in the industry. We want to share your inspiring stories to show women the importance of their role in construction. It’s important to remember that as a woman in construction, your story can help inspire women in the industry and women or girls considering a career in construction. More women in construction will lead to a more productive, diverse and efficient industry and this benefits us all.
As the collective voice for the sector, the CIF is committed to dispelling the ingrained perceptions of the construction industry and promote equality of opportunity for all.
International Women’s Day Event
Join us on March 9th for a celebration of International Women’s Day. Our speakers, who are working in a range of different areas in construction will share their stories and we hope you will share yours. To register for our in-person or virtual event, please visit our website.