Although the numbers of women in construction are far less than their counterpart, the numbers continue to increase. With this being the case, it is important to make sure women are being treated fairly, with safety protection, sanitation standards, and support from management.
Everyone deserves a clean and healthy place to use the toilet, but many construction workers know the woes of no toilet or an ‘unusable’ portable. When toilets are available and uncared for, it’s a matter of respect and health that should be truly addressed. In the meantime, designating separate toilets for each sex, or at least a well-maintained unisex restroom should not be too much to ask.
A strong support system is important for everyone in the field, but since this industry is male dominated, women are often left working only with other men. It is important for both sexes to have someone who can identify with you the way someone of the opposite sex cannot. If there are issues that are present related gender inequality, it is important to have more women in the field to support and share ideas with one another.
Construction management should be providing safety gear and safety uniforms that are well fitted for men and women. Some companies will offer a one size fits all, but this will not work with the varied sizes of men and women alike. This is would create more safety hazards; if it was oversized, it could get caught in machinery or tripped over out in the field.
Harassment in the workplace toward a man or woman is unacceptable. In the construction industry, you hear many more stories of women being the victims of harassment, especially as they are the minority. This could affect more women entering the field, and even more so if management ignores the harassment or participates. If you are involved in managing people or safety in the industry, having an open discussion on HR and zero tolerance policies should always be addressed on a regular basis.
As more women enter the construction industry, these issues are moreover focusing on women. But this should not be so; these issues should be thought through and evaluated in relation to all people in the infrastructure workforce.