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NAWIC takes on the construction industry’s ‘leaky pipeline’

NAWIC takes on the construction industry's 'leaky pipeline'

To tackle the persistent challenge of the construction industry’s ‘leaky pipeline’, the National Association of Women in Construction has adopted a proactive strategy to redefine opportunities for women in the sector.

By the National Association of Women in Construction.

In the fast-paced world of the construction industry, there is a widely acknowledged challenge commonly referred to as the ‘leaky pipeline’. Recognising the urgency of this issue, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has embraced a proactive stance to confront and overcome this obstacle.

This article invites you to explore NAWIC’s approach in addressing the leaky pipeline of women in construction. We will delve into the complexities of the strategy that not only aims to fix the leaks but also seeks to create an environment where women, and everyone, can thrive throughout their careers in the sector. We need support from the industry to ensure we are creating a future characterised by inclusivity, diversity and empowerment.

Key strategies

1. Education and awareness
  • High school: Develop and implement initiatives to increase awareness of career opportunities in construction.
  • Apprenticeships and university study: Establish safe learning environments and advocate for diversity in educational materials.
  • Promote the creation of safe workplaces for women.
2. Workplace initiatives
  • Address childcare accessibility and workplace flexibility.
  • Ensure fair and equitable remuneration.
  • Provide equal opportunities for advancement.
  • Implement the 12 recommendations outlined in the Breaking down the barriers for apprentices report, 2022, by the Queensland Training Ombudsman.
  • Establish a National Gender Equality Strategy.
3. Family and work balance
  • Develop quotas and initiatives to increase the number of female teachers in TAFE and university environments.
  • Implement the Culture Standard outlined by the Construction Industry Culture Taskforce (CICT).
  • Introduce workplace mentoring and buddy systems.
  • Ensure the provision of onsite amenities catering to the needs of female employees.
  • Pursue the Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).
4. Remuneration and career growth
  • Ensure affordable and flexible childcare options are available for all parents.
  • Customise childcare solutions to align with onsite work hours.
  • Introduce portable parental and long service leave policies.
  • Encourage job share, part-time and work-from-home options.
  • Eliminate the pay gap for women in equivalent positions.
5. Inclusivity and recognition
  • Establish and implement career pathway and upskilling strategies for women.
  • Introduce ‘Male Allies’ education programs.
  • Conduct organisation-wide diversity and inclusion (D&I) training.
  • Establish a menopause policy.
  • Introduce executive and board quotas.
  • Celebrate and promote the success stories of women in construction, fostering the ethos “You can be what you can see”.

At NAWIC, our vision is to achieve 25 per cent female participation in the construction industry by 2025. Currently, we are sitting at 12 per cent. While this goal may pose challenges, we are committed to continuing the conversation, breaking down barriers and transforming the construction culture to create a safe and equitable place for women.

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