Leaders of men: women 'managing' in construction

Watts, Jacqueline H. (2009). Leaders of men: women 'managing' in construction. Work, Employment and Society, 23(3) pp. 512–530.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017009337074


Although women's experience of working in management has been studied extensively, the particular challenges they face in this role within male-dominated professions merits further attention. This article draws on research into the career experiences of women civil engineers in the UK to critically discuss the possibilities for women to pursue a management pathway within construction. A feminist theoretical framework has been used to analyse data from thirty-one in depth interviews with women working in both the consulting and contracting parts of the industry. The study highlights cultural issues of visibility and the presenteeism ethos of the sector as well as the material constraints of construction sites. Women are taking up senior management posts but only in very few numbers. Their success depends on assuming 'male' norms and in these roles they straddle a marginal territory that is bordered by exclusion and resistance.

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