Women in construction

  • A. W. Gale

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This project investigates some aspects of why there are only a few women occupied as construction management professionals in the British construction industry. It investigates differences between sexes in their perceived image and knowledge of the construction industry and the relationship between image and knowledge and recruitment to the construction industry.

A literature review identified that no research on women in construction had been carried out prior to this project. The literature on women in engineering yielded certain insights and transferable research methods.

Questionnaire and interview surveys of construction students were used to develop working hypotheses and research models. Four "Insight" courses for careers advisers, teachers and school students were run as an action research adjunct to the main research. A pilot interview survey of 21 school students, undergraduate students and graduates in construction, engineering and finance and banking was undertaken to develop the main questionnaire survey instrument. The main survey yielded responses from 149 males and 171 females.

Qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques were adopted to analyse and interpret data from the surveys comprising this research. Results are presented in a variety of qualitative and quantitative formats, including tabulations of non-parametric statistical test results.

Conclusions are drawn based on findings arising from the body of work as a whole. There were found to be some differences between sexes in certain aspects of image of the construction industry. Males and females generally converge in their images of construction from school through university into employment in the construction industry. Both sexes have the same poor level of knowledge of the construction industry. There is no evidence that more knowledge of the construction industry discourages either sex from entering the industry. Knowledge of the construction industry, higher education routes to professional occupations and career opportunities in construction are extremely important to school students considering a construction degree. Careers advisers and teachers are perceived by school students, undergraduates and graduates to give inaccurate and inadequate information about the construction industry. The construction industry has a culture characterised by conflict, crisis and masculinity. Education is a gatekeeper to the construction industry culture.

Recommendations are made for the implementation of conclusions as well as recommendations for further research. These include a recommendation that statistical data on vertical occupational segregation by sex should be gathered on the construction industry.

Date of Award1994
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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