Women Empowerment and Building Industry
It is the right time to take stock of where women in India stand now in terms of their economic and social status and what can be done about it. From its 108th position in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, India has slipped to the 112th spot. In the cultural norms of India, the plight of women is deep-rooted for centuries. Especially since the mid 20th century a lot has been already said and done to bring about reforms in our social structure. Debates and initiatives intensified as a fundamental right to woman’s dignity during the 1990s. However, it is clear that we still have a long way to go in terms of women’s empowerment. India still is one of the most unsafe countries for women with all the praises for its fast development as well as there is a desperate need for a change of attitude. This change can be facilitated through the economic empowerment of women in India.
Women employment- Construction Sector
With 28 percent of total industrial employment, the construction sector is one of the world’s largest industrial employers. It is mainly a male-centric profession and the percentage of women is relatively small who really want to break this barrier. In India, 30 percent workers comprise of women out of 35 million workers who are employed in the construction sector. This small section of women usually occupies the bottom end of the construction industry as head load carriers and unskilled laborers. It is male-dominated at the technical and managerial roles in the sector. Up to 50-60 percent of new graduates in India are women but in the construction sector only 24 percent of entry-level professionals. Out of all the women working at the managerial and technical level in construction companies, leadership positions are reached by only 1-2 percent. Women Leaders are bringing about the much-needed change in society and have the capability also.
Why women disappear from the fields?
Effective literacy rates were 82.14% for men and 65.46% for women according to the census of India in 2011. Women are discouraged to get higher education due to the financial constraints of families. For their mobility, they are often dependent on the males of the family. Only 31 percent of married women and 98 percent of married men are employed as per the National Family and Health Survey. The reasons behind this are mostly common for all sectors however when it comes to the construction industry, certain factors also come to light. The acceptance of society for a women’s role in the construction industry is far less. It has been accepted that women are more honest in the work, stable, maintain decorum in their office, and hence are more preferred while hiring. Still many of the recruiters from the building industry find it challenging to hire women, as not many women prefer a career in the construction industry considering it unsafe for them. Fields like architecture also have a scope for lateral professions and avenues for women. Women also enjoy writing and researching about architecture.
Role of Academia in women empowerment
Academia can also play an important role in preparing the female students for this challenge that they could face from their early years. Our curriculums should be modified enough to ensure greater participation of all the women in practice. Many top MBA colleges in India are also having women cell for this purpose. The teaching methodologies adopted by teachers should be incorporate inclusivity and this issue should be dealt more subtly and sensitively. The challenges faced by the women for maintaining the work-life balance and living a fulfilling life have to be acknowledged by everyone. Every education institute should be gender-neutral but at the same time, they have to make their students ready for facing all the challenges imposed by the male-dominated fields. Thus making our women strong enough so that they can contribute to every sector they are entering in and our men sensible enough to accommodate the women workforce should also be treated as one of the priority.
Women should be made more confident and comfortable for choosing their career and to be independent. This will empower all women socially, emotionally so that we could move towards being a more progressive and inclusive nation.
Until then, Happy Learning!
Ms. Disha Garg
Assistant Professor, RDIAS