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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Druckformat: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v6.i1.40
10 pages

WOMEN IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IN THE U.K.: A CULTURAL DISCORD?

Barbara M. Bagilhole
Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom
Andrew R. J. Dainty
School of the Built Environment, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5FB, United Kingdom
Richard H. Neale
School of the Built Environment, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, CF37 1DL, United Kingdom

ABSTRAKT

The construction industry is the most male dominated of all industrial sectors in the United Kingdom. This article reports on a study that explored women's and men's experiences of working in the industry, focusing on how the cultural aspects of the workplace environment impinged upon women's career development. We interviewed more than 80 male and female construction professionals from large construction organizations, and compared their career accounts in order to establish the aspects of the workplace culture that had a gender-differentiated impact on progression. We found that construction organizations formed competitive "power" cultures where women's contributions were marginalized and their careers impeded through a combination of inflexible work practices and discriminatory behavior. These barriers to women's careers were maintained in small project teams by autonomous male operational managers. Their locus of control embraced recruitment, promotion, and staff development, which allowed them to sustain a workplace culture intolerant of nontraditional entrants. We conclude that this cultural environment is likely to remain problematic for women unless it can be changed in a way that values their contribution. This requires a radical shift in middle management attitudes, a departure from current organizational human resource management systems, and a wider acceptance of the need for cultural change within the industry.


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