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Women at work! Evaluating equal employment policies and outcomes in construction

Erica French (Department of Management, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
Glenda Strachan (Employment Relations and Human Resources, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 20 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine equal employment policies in Australia’s male-dominated construction industry and categorise the types of activities undertaken against an equal employment typology to identify links to outcomes for women in the form of increased participation and management.

Design/methodology/approach

To explore the issue of low representation of women in construction through the content analysis of 83 construction organisations’ equal employment opportunity (EEO) reports.

Findings

This industry is not engaging with equal employment issues and the numbers of women working in the industry and/or management are based on individual decision rather than an institutional commitment to equality in diversity.

Research limitations/implications

Australian legislation mandates organisational reporting of relevant data and offers public access to this information offering a unique data set.

Practical implications

An ageing population means that the predominately older male workforce is leaving construction in greater numbers with fewer potential replacements making new labour markets a vital consideration.

Social implications

Legislation and organisational policies designed to promote EEO for women have existed in numerous countries for decades. One objective of this legislation was to reduce male domination in senior positions and industries/occupations where women were under-represented. Despite this, few women are employed in construction in operational or management roles worldwide.

Originality/value

This study offers a comprehensive analysis of a male-dominated industry in one jurisdiction rather than a few selected cases and uses a broader rigorous typology for analysis that acknowledges both equal and different treatment options.

Keywords

Citation

French, E. and Strachan, G. (2015), "Women at work! Evaluating equal employment policies and outcomes in construction", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 227-243. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-11-2013-0098

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited