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Adogbo, K.J. (2013) Development of a Framework for Attracting and Retaining Women in Construction Practice, Unpublished PhD Thesis, Department of Quantity Surveying, Faculty of Environmental Design, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.
- Type: Thesis
- Keywords: Construction Undergraduates; Gender; Barriers; Women; Framework
The Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations committed the international community to an expanded vision of development, one of which includes promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women. Previous research indicates that women are significantly underrepresented in the Nigerian construction industry and that there are barriers which prevent their entry into, and ability to succeed in the industry. Studies have also shown that female undergraduates face barriers which deter them from engaging in construction practice thus resulting in inability to translate education into practice. This research examined the barriers faced by female undergraduates in construction disciplines in Nigerian Universities with a view to developing a framework for attracting and retaining women in construction practice. A detailed literature review on women in construction led to the development of a questionnaire which was used in a survey. Thirty questionnaires were distributed in four departments of three higher institutions yielding a total of 360; 263 questionnaires were returned and 259 (71.94% of the questionnaires distributed) were used in the analysis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 female students and 16 women across the professions of Architecture, Building, Civil Engineering and Quantity Surveying. The findings showed barriers common to the undergraduate respondents included the stressful, demanding and competitive nature of construction jobs, and male culture which exists in the workplace. The respondents perceived themselves to be ambitious and able to excel at work; to work well with contractors and subcontractors and to pay attention to details. The results of the interview of female undergraduates revealed that the interviewees perceived construction practice as synonymous with site activities and they consider family responsibility to be incompatible with successful career progression. The strategies identified by the women in practice for attracting and retaining women in practice include active participation in professional bodies’ activities; seeking for and adopting a mentor in practice and constantly seeking to improve in one’s knowledge and skills. It was concluded that female graduates can be attracted to the industry but efforts need to be put in place to have a successful implementation of the strategies identified by the professional women. It is recommended that various professional bodies in conjunction with the higher institutions should raise mentors/role models for younger professionals and organise career talks in secondary schools as a means of educating girls on the benefits of taking science subjects as a route to obtaining a degree in construction and also organise seminars and workshops to be delivered yearly at all institutions offering construction related disciplines. A framework that addresses gender issues in attracting and retaining graduates in construction practice was developed using three aspects of a career management system across four stages of career development for women in construction.