IT WILL TAKE nearly 200 years to achieve gender equality in the construction industry, according to GMB, the construction union.
The analysis, revealed at GMB’s annual Congress in Brighton this week, shows at the current rate of growth, the number of women in construction will equal men by the year 2194.
GMB has arranged a summit with the major construction companies working on the £18 billion Hinkley Point C project to discuss the lack of women in construction – a move backed by Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner.
GMB will meet HPC bosses and contractor Doosan Babcock to discuss ways to recruit more women on the construction of the huge nuclear reactor.
Nigel Cann, HPC Delivery Director, said: “At Hinkley Point C, we want to support more women entering the industry and to encourage progression of those who are already working with us. Success in this area is already being seen within EDF Energy’s apprenticeships where almost 40% of the current cohort are female – a substantial improvement against industry averages.
One in Eight
ONS data shows that just one in eight construction workers are female – the lowest share of any broad industrial group.
There are an estimated 60,972 more women in the construction industry than there were in 2009 – but as a proportion of the overall workforce the female share of the labour force increased by just 2.1 per cent.
At this rate, it would take almost two hundred years before there was gender equality in the industry.
Angela Rayner, Shadow Education Secretary, said: “These figures show the scale of the challenge but major state-backed projects like HPC are a chance for the government to step in and take action. Ministers should tell us how they will ensure that the opportunities they present will be open to all.
“We need to ensure that apprenticeships, for example, are available to more women and people who are historically underrepresented in certain jobs and industries. But the Tories’ record has fallen far short their rhetoric, failing to set robust targets let alone meet them.
“A Labour government will do things differently. We will set clear and ambitious targets for recruiting female apprentices, reform the Institute for Apprenticeships to deliver wider participation, and be held to account by an empowered and independent Social Justice Commission. These changes will help women break through the barriers and ensure that everyone has opportunities to work in the key industries of the future.”