A participant observation study of gender dynamics on construction sites

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

While the working population of women in the UK is 47%, in construction this drops to less than 10%. There are significantly more women working in a professional than operative capacity. This has led to investigations into why women do not enter the industry, and why they leave it. However, too little work has been done to explore the day-to-day experiences of professional women whilst employed in construction, particularly those in site-based roles. This paper details the findings of participant observation on a £16M construction project in Scotland between June 2017 and March 2018. The site employed an average of 30-40 workers per day and the researcher, who was employed as a trainee student engineer, was the only woman in a site-based role at the time of the study. Via Kanter's theory of tokenism, the research considers a number of issues surrounding the presence of women on construction sites. The results highlight the issues of traditional gender role assumption and the objectification of women that need to be addressed and changed to aid the industry in encouraging, welcoming, and retaining more female operatives into the sector whilst gaining a better gender balance in the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceeding of the 34th Annual ARCOM Conference, ARCOM 2018
EditorsChris Gorse, Christopher J. Neilson
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherARCOM (Association of Researchers in Construction Management
Pages291-300
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780995546325
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
Event34th Annual Association of Researchers in Construction Management Conference, ARCOM 2018 - Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Sep 20185 Sep 2018

Conference

Conference34th Annual Association of Researchers in Construction Management Conference, ARCOM 2018
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityBelfast
Period3/09/185/09/18

Keywords

  • careers
  • ethnography
  • gender
  • participant observation
  • women

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