Across the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day dedicated to celebrating the structural, economic, social, cultural, and political achievements of women. It has also become a day to break the silence against gender stereotypes and all discriminatory practices affecting women in societies and workplaces.
Looking back on the origin of the celebration, it began as a protest against the reprehensible magnitude of gender inequality in societies worldwide during the 20th century. Decades later in the 21st century, it is unfortunate that communities have not fully attained gender parity.
As one of the largest economic drivers, the construction industry is also plagued with some of these limiting stereotypes. It is common knowledge that women are usually discouraged from going on field jobs due to the unfounded fear that they are more likely to get injured on construction sites.
While most of these concerns are sometimes well-intentioned, it is intrinsically coming from a place laced with biases. And when women are not being relegated to office work, they are being sidelined from managerial positions. This is evident in the fact that many women in the construction industry have never had a female manager.
Over the years, we have come to witness the resilience of women who blazed trails in the construction industry against all odds. They have made it possible to see women in the construction industry as a norm and not as outliers. For us, names like Abimbola Windapo, Olajumoke Adenowo, and Mayen Adetiba stand out among others who led the way to break the bias in the industry.
L -R Bruce A. Haswell, Regional Director West Africa Region, Turner & Townsend, Temitope Runsewe, Managing Director of Dutum Company Ltd, Jumoke Adenowo, Principal Partner at AD Consulting, Shola Bello, Acting Managing Director, Landwey Investment Limited, and Jamila Faniyi, Managing Director, M&E Kaiser Limited.
In what remains a male-dominated industry, and considering the socio-historical impact of the beliefs women tend to suffer in such an industry, Dutum Construction Company has made numerous significant contributions to break the bias.
We have collaborated and pioneered fundamental projects in the form of CSRs such as the STEM Fair, Abuja and ICT for Girls Programme, Ondo State. These projects address underlying issues that must be eradicated to achieve a gender-equal today and a sustainable tomorrow.
Beyond the celebration of International Women’s Day and simply praising women as a group, these are some of the steps we are taking at Dutum to eliminate the systemic barriers for women and disadvantaged groups:
- We are committed to building inclusive spaces for women and disabled groups in banks, schools, hospitals, homes, workplaces, public buildings, and other projects we undertake for clients.
- Prioritizing mentorship and capacity development opportunities for women who chose a career in construction.
- Funding groups and organizations involved in mentoring and exposing young girls to careers and opportunities in the construction world.
- We will continue to review and update internal policies to give women the same opportunities as their male counterparts in our workplaces.
Breaking the bias in the construction industry
Whether deliberate or unconscious, gender discrimination persists despite increasing the number of women venturing into Nigeria’s construction industry. We understand the importance of collaboration above all in addressing these issues. As a result, we are renewing our commitment to creating spaces where women can safely express their concerns to understand these systemic challenges better.
Concerning this, the Managing Director of Dutum Company Limited had this to say in a press release:
We have been deliberately trying to employ women into several roles in the built environment for over a year, but it has been a challenge.
If you are a competent and driven female engineer, builder, or quantity surveyor looking for a new challenging environment with a vibrant construction company either in Lagos or Abuja, send your CVs to firstname.lastname@example.orgTemitope Runsewe, Managing Director, Dutum Company Limited
We believe that together, we can accomplish so much. A gender-equal today for a sustainable tomorrow. A more equitable future for women by breaking the bias in the construction industry.