Construction is one of the most notoriously male-dominated professions, however, in South Africa, women seem to be well represented in the industry. Women are winning these gender barriers in sectors that were previously known to be dominated by men.
According to the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), 48% of South Africa’s construction companies are owned by women. This shows a great amount of efforts is done in this sector to ensure that women are equally benefiting from the opportunities this sector has.
Yandi Jiya-Tiba, Executive Manager Support Services at National Construction Incubator said that the percentage is a good representation. However, it would be more exciting if the 48% reflected here would be of women owning their own business and the 52% which is currently held by men be the total percentage of women in our industry.
“One of the many myths told to women is that they must be rough and tough like a man to make it in the construction industry. Over the years, women in the industry have proven that even with our gentle and nurturing attributes, we can still achieve what many deem as the unthinkable and not womanlike,” said Patt Chalwa, chief executive officer at National Construction Incubator (NCI).
The National Construction Incubator (NCI) is one of the country’s leading women-owned construction entities. Their programmes aim to support and pave the way for SMEs in the construction industry, with a strong focus on female contractors and youth.
“As a nation, we need to create developmental funding solutions that will cater to this segment of female entrepreneurs who have endeavoured into a challenging and previously male-dominated sector such as construction sector. Perhaps a wholly-owned women development organisation in construction could be the starting point for greatness,” added Babalwa Mapisa NCI Board member and Chairperson of the Finance Committee.
Chalwa said her former mentor once told her that when you want to talk about work, surround yourself with men but when you want to get work done, get women to do the job. “Within the NCI, the latter phenomenon has proven this to be true, and that more women are needed in construction in the country to turn the country’s economy around,” she concluded.