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Women are the unsung heroes of the construction industry

6 March 2018

Women are the unsung heroes of the construction industry

This Thursday is International Women’s Day and the Registered Master Builders Association want to acknowledge the unsung and often unrecognised role women play in New Zealand’s construction industry.

“Women form the backbone of the building industry,” says RMBA Chief Executive David Kelly.

“Women are heavily involved in many of our member’s businesses. Often a woman runs the business so her partner can focus on the tools and this role is just as important as the physical construction side. Many successful building businesses are based on this partnership model, and we want to use this year’s International Women’s Day as an opportunity to recognise the vital role these women play.”

The RMBA has had a number of female regional Presidents including two currently who were elected by their peers within the industry to represent them.

RMBA West Coast President Linda Caldana runs a family construction business alongside her husband Robert. Linda is a qualified draftsperson and learning assessor. She oversees her team’s recruitment and training and says while a lot has changed for women during her 35 years in the industry, women are still not getting the recognition they deserve.

“It’s about getting the best person for the job, and women have a significant role to play,” she says.

“Clients still ring and want to talk to my husband on a daily basis, when, in fact they need to talk to me.”

RMBA Ashburton President Andrea Lee says it is important there is mutual respect for the roles women and men play.

“Women bring huge strength and a whole different process to the industry. On the business side, it is the behind-the-scenes efforts of women who makes businesses thrive,” she says.

“Women are often amazing project managers and designers. They are excellent at client management, financial management, and considering how a home will function best for a family – they make a house a home.”

More than 65,000 construction workers are needed over the next five years to keep up with demand and women are increasingly picking up the tools. Blenheim-based builder Olivia Ward encourages other women to consider stepping out of the office.

“There’s a huge shortage of builders and especially women builders and I’d like to encourage other women to get into the trades,” she says.

“I find it just as easy as anyone else on the building site. It’s all pretty equal really. Women can do just as good a job as men – if not better!”


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