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Do prevailing gender perspectives facilitate the inclusion of women in the Australian construction industry?

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • The construction-engineering industry in Australia still reports low participation of women, and the problem remains unsolved. Although a few studies have focused on finding why the current policies and practices fail to increase the representation of women in male-dominant industries, there is very little use of an ���inclusion lens��� to identify how to retain women while enhancing their sense of inclusion at work. To fill this gap, this study conducted in-depth interviews with 35 senior managers working within the construction engineering industry (human resources managers and engineers working in engineering consultancy firms, construction firms, research and education organisations, government regulatory bodies, and a professional association) in Australia. The study���s findings help understand how two prominent gender perspectives (i.e., gendered and gender-neutral) promote hegemonic masculine ideals and steer the construction-engineering work culture towards exclusion, assimilation or diversification. The findings suggested that there needs to be an appetite for a different (more inclusive and care focused) perspective among both individuals and organisations, which can help nurture a sense of inclusion for women. The study contributes to the inclusion literature by elaborating on gender as a significant contextual factor that needs to be illuminated further when developing inclusive frameworks and provides several policy implications and practical suggestions for construction-engineering organisations to champion gender-balanced and gender-inclusive industries.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Wijayawardena, K., Almeida, S., & McCarthy, T. (2022, February 15). Do prevailing gender perspectives facilitate the inclusion of women in the Australian construction industry?. In Gender and Sexuality at Work A Multidisciplinary Research and Engagement Conference. University of Melbourne. Retrieved from https://fbe.unimelb.edu.au/cwl/conferences/gender-and-sexuality-at-work/program

Web Of Science Accession Number


Volume


Issue


Place Of Publication


Abstract


  • The construction-engineering industry in Australia still reports low participation of women, and the problem remains unsolved. Although a few studies have focused on finding why the current policies and practices fail to increase the representation of women in male-dominant industries, there is very little use of an ���inclusion lens��� to identify how to retain women while enhancing their sense of inclusion at work. To fill this gap, this study conducted in-depth interviews with 35 senior managers working within the construction engineering industry (human resources managers and engineers working in engineering consultancy firms, construction firms, research and education organisations, government regulatory bodies, and a professional association) in Australia. The study���s findings help understand how two prominent gender perspectives (i.e., gendered and gender-neutral) promote hegemonic masculine ideals and steer the construction-engineering work culture towards exclusion, assimilation or diversification. The findings suggested that there needs to be an appetite for a different (more inclusive and care focused) perspective among both individuals and organisations, which can help nurture a sense of inclusion for women. The study contributes to the inclusion literature by elaborating on gender as a significant contextual factor that needs to be illuminated further when developing inclusive frameworks and provides several policy implications and practical suggestions for construction-engineering organisations to champion gender-balanced and gender-inclusive industries.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Wijayawardena, K., Almeida, S., & McCarthy, T. (2022, February 15). Do prevailing gender perspectives facilitate the inclusion of women in the Australian construction industry?. In Gender and Sexuality at Work A Multidisciplinary Research and Engagement Conference. University of Melbourne. Retrieved from https://fbe.unimelb.edu.au/cwl/conferences/gender-and-sexuality-at-work/program

Web Of Science Accession Number


Volume


Issue


Place Of Publication