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Alvez, S and English, J (2017) South African Female Construction Students’ Perceptions Of Gender And Sexism And Preparation By Their University . In: Chan, P W and Neilson, C J (Eds.), Proceedings 33rd Annual ARCOM Conference, 4-6 September 2017, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 219–227.
- Type: Conference Proceedings
- Keywords: Gender, women, construction, socialisation, health
- ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9955463-1-8
- URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/98e749c50ef5f45042c8e26bce7ecaad.pdf
To provide relevant, appropriate education to our female student population, it is important to understand their perceptions as women of what the construction workplace will present and to measure the impacts on these perceptions. Learning is more likely to grow out of a learner-centred and peer-driven (not teacher-centred) instructional environment. Thus integration of social and health issues into aligned core curricula enables students to engage with these issues automatically. Professional Communication Studies and HIV/Aids, Inclusivity and Change Unit held workshops on gender-based challenges and focus group discussions with Construction and Property female students to explore whether the students have been appropriately prepared to work in non-traditional work places. This included other external stimuli in the university, such as site experience, which may have prepared female students for their future professions. A qualitative methodology based in eight semi structured focus group questions guided the discussion and the analysis of themes incorporated Nvivo software. The focus groups were drawn from different courses in 2016 and 2017 and comprised a total of 20 female students. Responses were that they perceive that their gender is advantageous to their entering the profession as there is legislative support but that the challenge remains that they need to prove their worth more than do their male counterparts. The latter comment corresponds with findings from developed countries. While challenges specific to developing countries were cited, they were not considered to be insurmountable. However, the university has not prepared them in ways to respond to gender-based challenges, some of which they already have experienced during vacation work. Recommendations emerged that this knowledge needs to inform further curriculum development within construction courses in South African universities. This gender research is a particularly important topic to countries which, like South Africa, have legislated that employment of women in construction be increased.