26 August 2019

As reported by Stats SA
construction, mining and trade are in recession with a 3.2% decline being the
biggest quarterly fall in economic activity since 2009.

In order to turn this
around, a definite change is needed to uplift and grow these sectors by opening
opportunities via transformation amongst other initiatives.

“It may seem like an
over simplification, but we believe in the promise of transformation, which is
a lengthy journey that aims to even the playing field for all demographics in
South Africa, including women,” says Desirè Paterson, assistant to the
Executive Director of the Master Builders Association Western Cape (MBAWC).

“According to the CIDB Quarterly report (October
2018), the construction industry is largely seen as a male dominated industry,
a fact that has remained reasonably consistent over the past 8 years, with a
recorded breakdown of around 89% male and 11% female,” says Paterson. “Although
historically, this industry may have been built on the backs of many men who
were passionate about building and growing our country, women can bring a
different point of view to any boardroom table (or construction site) and with
different points of view comes change.”

The MBAWC spoke to
several female members of the industry to gather their advice for other women
wanting to pursue a career in construction:

what women need to flourish in this industry is exposure to it and this should
start at primary school level with career guidance classes.  Years
ago, women shied away from construction, but today we have female quantity
surveyors, architects, designers and 
builders,” says Avril Kariem, Office and HR Manager at Frost

, Health and Safety Officer at Dekon Projects, agrees. “Being a
respected member of this industry is not all brawn and heavy lifting – although
I would say construction is better suited to people ready to be active on the
job,” she says. “Skills in mechanics, engineering, bricklaying, health and
safety, electricity and painting, for example, are a foot in the door for
anyone wanting to enter the construction industry – and don’t tell me women
can’t do this – we’ve been doing this for years.”

Head Accountant and Company Administrator of Pinelands Development Company
(Non-Profit Company) and Sunpark West Coast Properties, believes that, in a
male dominated industry, it is hard for women trying to ‘break ground’ with
their male counterparts.

simply have to persevere and believe that anything is possible,” she says. “If
this is your purpose, set goals, persevere and you will achieve it. Stay true
to who you are as a woman and always be humble, in everything.”

“Unfortunately, as a woman
sometimes you have to work twice as hard to be recognised and prove yourself,
but never give up no matter how hard it gets. If you put your mind to it,
any industry can be yours to own,” points out Faith Mabena,
Director Nokhanya Services.

is for this reason that women need to support each other,” says Caitlin
, Evaluator, Marketing Manager and National Sales Support at
Derbigum Manufacturing. “Construction is a broad industry that can be open to
many people from different backgrounds, but it is vital for it to be inclusive
so that men can see how women’s style of working can bring a good a balance
into the mix.”

recently appointed as the second female President of the Association of South
African Quantity Surveyors agrees with this sentiment. “My experience through
the years is that to a large extent, the support is there. One will always find
less supportive individuals but, just like men, we as women have to earn
respect. We can achieve this, not by talking like men and acting like men, but
by applying our own unique female qualities to benefit projects.”

MBAWC believes that it is vital to continue to carve a path for women in
construction. “We aim to clear the road and bring equal opportunities to every
person who is driven to succeed in our arena,” says Paterson.

“We believe in our hidden gems and know that with the right support and due respect, women like these listed above can help us realise true transformation while bringing the industry back to life,” she concludes.http://More information at www,

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