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Women helping women: outcomes of a South African pilot project

Ingrid Verwey (Development Bank of Southern Africa, Midrand, South Africa)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Article publication date: 11 July 2008




This paper reviews how women help women in the South African Women in Construction (SAWIC) organization to effectively participate in projects. In a pilot project partnering with industry stakeholders, the Development Bank of Southern Africa as incubator of SAWIC, further explored what support women contractors required to succeed, tested mentoring and coaching as part of enterprise development.


Relevant literature were studied and analysed, testing the views and measure of success of women contractors against existing models. A survey instrument was developed to test the constructs empirically.


The empirical testing of success as a construct indicated that women overwhelmingly view mentoring and coaching as key capacity building and growth strategies towards successful women‐owned construction enterprises, underpinned by preliminary indications of the almost complete pilot study.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation to the study is that it is based on preliminary findings and limited scope of the civil project.

Practical implications

Given the excellent results of the Cronbach α and factor analysis, the instrument developed proved to be reliable and valid and could be used for similar studies.


Knowledge sharing of lessons learnt in the joint initiative between government, the building industry, development finance institutions and women associations towards addressing critical skills shortages and gender equity.



Verwey, I. (2008), "Women helping women: outcomes of a South African pilot project", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 162-177.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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