Women working in construction management roles: is it worth it?

Watts, Jacqueline H. (2012). Women working in construction management roles: is it worth it? Global Journal of Management Science and Technology, 1(3) pp. 38–44.

URL: http://gjmst.com/Current%20Issue/Women%20Working%2...


Although women’s experience of working in management has been the subject of extensive comment, the particular challenges they face in this role within male-dominated professions continue to be under-reported. Drawing on ethnographic research into the career experiences of women civil engineers in the UK, this article critically discusses how women perceive management careers in construction in light of what some regard as limited financial rewards for the high levels of stress and the long hours expected in this highly competitive industry. A feminist theoretical framework has been used to thematically analyse data from thirty-one in depth interviews with women working in both the consulting and contracting parts of the business. The study highlights cultural issues of visibility and the presenteeism ethos of the sector. It also draws attention to the material constraints of construction sites where women in authority roles are ‘embattled’ and not taken seriously because the hostile work environment enables men to put women in a subordinate place in the construction hierarchy. Women are taking up senior management posts in construction but only in very few numbers. Their success depends on assuming ‘male’ behavioural norms and intensified work patterns because ‘belonging’ in construction workplace cultures is highly gendered.

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