Author: Olga Maritz
As a female in the Construction industry, both mascara and mortar perfectly describe the role played by women in the industry. With one being an enhancer and the other being a binding agent, the two contrasting elements represent the strengths and unique abilities required to become a game-changer in a male-dominated industry.
For years, women have remained at the helm of subjection when it comes to the Construction Industry. This is something that we should either accept or challenge, and I chose the latter. Embracing it, however, comes with the mammoth task of altering the status quo where women are expected to take on administrative roles as opposed to jobs that require specialized education and training. In addition to this, we also have the task of working towards lowering the unemployment rate amongst fellow females.
It was probably not until the historic 1956 Woman’s march against oppressive laws that women were acknowledged and considered for inclusion. To paint the picture even clearer, CIDB indicates that there are only 8 female-owned companies with a grading of above 8. This ultimately means that it has taken South Africa 63 years to produce 8 women-owned companies. The law, however, has since relaxed some of the barriers that previously oppressed women, but I do believe that it might still take years and perhaps even generations to overcome the struggle.
In order to reflect true transformation in our industry, young women should be trained to effectively take on certain roles that were previously male-dominated. I strongly believe that now more than ever, us as females must put on our safety helmets, graciously accept the invite, and fill the seats that we have been offered at the table. Working in a medium scale construction company where the majority of my colleagues are men, I have learnt the importance of mastering certain skills as opposed to merely competing with one another.
A key takeaway that I’ve learnt in the industry is that if we wish to seamlessly complete projects while exceeding client expectations, each employee (both male and female) should be operating at his/her peak. By doing so we are ultimately benefiting both male and female while forming a unique blend of mascara and mortar.