The National Association of Women in Construction’s (NAWIC) Tasmanian chapter will play a major role in giving females a clearer path to be heavily involved within the island state’s built environment, after being invited by the Tasmanian Government to be part of an industry advisory group for the development of Women in Building and Construction Strategy.
The government’s $75,000 investment into the strategy is designed to outline the number of career options within the industry for women, and will seek to address barriers that prevent women from entering the construction industry.
The government has committed an additional $350,000 a year over the next three years to the strategy, in order to develop an industry-led approach to enable and empower more women in non-traditional areas. These areas include the Supporting Women to Succeed grants program and developing a Modern Workplaces Framework resource to support safe workplaces for women.
NAWIC Tasmania recently called for the government to assist in increasing opportunities for women in the Tasmanian construction industry during the state election, held in May this year. The development of the strategy is reported to be a flow-on effect of the association’s call for help.
Monique Little, NAWIC Tasmania’s President, says the involvement of women in construction will assist the industry’s key growth, which is needed in order for the state to complete a number of vital projects in the coming years.
“Master Builders Tasmania (MBT) estimate the construction workforce will need to grow by 25% by 2025 to deliver the infrastructure that will secure our future. This presents an exceptional opportunity to expand the construction workforce by better supporting female participation,” she says.
As of March 2021, women account for only 10.2 percent of people working in the Tasmanian construction industry.
“There is an undeniable and well documented connection between increased diversity in company leadership and the wider workforce, and positive impacts on company performance, including increased financial profitability*,” says Little.
NAWIC has called on the incoming government to commit to the following policy priorities:
- Implement the recommendations of the [email protected]: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report (2020).
- To create a fund for small businesses in the Tasmanian construction industry to undertake diversity and inclusion training.
- To support and provide funding for a partnership between NAWIC Tasmania, Master Builders Tasmania and the Department of Education to expand the current MBT schools outreach program; Pathways into Building and Construction.
- To deliver funding to develop a ‘Modern Worksite’ framework – an informal accreditation program for builders and construction companies to provide a safe workplace for women.
NAWIC National Chair, Kristine Scheul, says she is hopeful the association will be able to hold a longstanding relationship with state and federal governments to better improve the percentage of women in the construction industry.
“We hope that in the coming months, NAWIC Chapters and the National Advocacy committee will have the opportunity to continue to influence policy and decision-making in government to significantly improve even some of the most basic conditions for women working in the industry.”