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  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Feb 15 2022
  • Time: 7:00 am - 8:30 am

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Feb 15 2022


5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Mainstreaming women construction workers in higher skilled productive roles – Part 1

Are there women plumbers, carpenters, scaffolding experts – how often do we find them on construction sites? While the construction industry generates employment for about 15 million women, they are confined to jobs of the ‘dead-end variety’ marked by low wages, low stability, low productivity and low mobility.

The construction industry in general is marked by minimal investment in skill development. Most of the skill development happens through informal on-the-job training arrangements. But these opportunities remain out of bounds for women. Only 1.4% of women employed in construction are in the top hierarchy of skilled jobs. The reasons for this persistent gender discrimination are many. It ranges from patriarchal ideologies that get translated into the modern wage sector to exploitative capital-labour relations that have emerged in the context of neo-liberalization and globalization.

Tackling this systemic problem requires a multi-stakeholder approach. While there have been governmental and private sector initiatives towards skill development of construction workers, these have been few and far between and insufficiently include women workers. Women-specific training initiatives by civil society organizations and industry stakeholders, have evidenced the capability of women workers but often find difficulty translating skills into jobs. Furthermore, there is a need to expand the scope of these training programs from skilled or semi-skilled roles such as mason or mason-helper to higher skilled and more productive job roles such as electrician or plumber. Most importantly, it is critical that these interventions collaborate, learn from each other and scale-up impact in order to achieve the goal of mainstreaming women workers in skilled productive jobs in the construction industry. The industry and workers themselves are the key to ‘co-creating’ solutions with experts, civil society and academia in discussion with the policy and regulatory environment.

This webinar shall discuss how and why skilled jobs remain cordoned off to women construction workers and establish the need for an ecosystem-based approach. It will focus on gathering perspectives of industry, civil society, government, and trade union representatives to establish a broad problem frame. Through a multi-stakeholder discussion, it will also seek to arrive at the strategic action areas for mainstreaming skilled women construction workers.

1. What is the status of the women worker in the construction industry?

– Informalization and feminization of labor in the construction industry especially in South-Asian geographies like India

– Existing spectrum of initiatives for mainstreaming women workers in construction industry and what they have taught us.

2. Industry perspectives on the role and potential of skilled women construction worker

– Overview of the construction industry in India and upcoming trends and growth prospects

– Existing private sector initiatives for skill development, especially for women workers and challenges and opportunities therein.

3. Civil society perspectives on skill development of women workers

– Overview of existing initiatives for skill development of women construction workers and challenges and opportunities they revealed.

– Road blocks that remain especially in terms of policy support and industry support in mainstreaming women workers in productive high skilled jobs

4. Construction worker perspectives on challenges involved in collectivization of women workers and demanding for rights and entitlements

– Lived experiences of women construction workers and day-to-day vulnerabilities they face

– Existing efforts towards mobilizing for rights and entitlements and challenges that remain

5.What can each stakeholder do towards improving the status of women construction workers?

– Open discussion on the strategic areas of focus and critical collaborations that systemically improve condition of women workers in the construction industry