The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) continues to encourage established construction professionals to contribute to transformation in the industry through personal commitment to the mentorship of women.
While women-owned entities have been on the rise, most of these fall within the lower CIDB grades one to three.
“Mentoring in the industry may see these businesses successfully scale to larger operations, contributing to job creation and empowerment of women in construction,” says CIDB CEO Cyril Vuyani Gamede.
The built environment industry, like many other technical and engineering industries, has traditionally been male dominated. This is unsurprising, says Gamede, given the nature of the work at its core, historically aligned with physically demanding manual labour.
However, as the construction industry has evolved, so too has its workforce. From civil and structural engineers, through to consultants, contractors and construction workers, women on the job site is no longer unfamiliar.
“The CIDB aims to see this trend on the rise for the foreseeable future, until the industry is better representative of South Africa’s population.”
According to the CIDB’s January 2020 report, titled 'Construction Monitor – Transformation' women-owned contractors access just 20% of total public contract awards, and make up 30% of all contracting enterprises who participated in the research.
The monitor presents an assessment of the state of transformation of the construction industry and concluded that, amongst other recommendations, “addressing transformation is not the responsibility of one entity or organisation, and requires the commitment from the established construction industry to transform from within”.
Further, Gamede says the mentoring and coaching initiative should not be an exclusively female-driven initiative; willing professionals of any gender should consider leveraging their institutional knowledge and wealth of experience to guide up-and-coming women.
This aligns to the CIDB ethos of development through partnership.
“Inclusive leadership and a willingness to teach are at the core of achieving transformation in the industry. We encourage capable professionals in industry to position themselves as role-models and mentors, to set the example and play their part in developing the construction industry to one of inclusivity and equality,” notes Gamede.
In line with transformational objectives, the CIDB has developed an awards programme to showcase projects and achievements by women in the construction industry.
The Empowerment and Recognition of Women in Construction Awards consist of ten categories, which are open for entry to any entity which is registered with the CIDB and is at least 51% female-owned.
The awards also recognise clients, entities and individuals who support gender transformation and mentorship of women within the industry. Entries are open until July 17. The winners will be named during Women’s Month in August.