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Study aims to smash glass ceiling

0 101 Labour

The Canadian Association of Women in Construction (CAWIC) is launching a three-year study to determine the barriers to women attaining leadership positions within the construction industry.

The Canadian Association of Women in Construction (CAWIC) is launching a three-year study to determine the barriers to women attaining leadership positions within the construction industry.

“We all acknowledge that there is an issue, we have a shortage of trades and we have underemployed and unemployed women. We can put these two together to address keeping Canada’s economy strong, because construction is a huge part of the economy,” said CAWIC director Tammy Evans.

In March, the Ministry of Status of Women announced $249,000 in support for CAWIC to study the issue and develop an action plan to encourage and retain more women in the industry.

“Now we have to develop all of the tools that we need to get women into the jobs, to keep them in the jobs and to get them into decision making roles. The stats show that if you have women in decision making roles in organizations and private companies, then more women will enter and those roles are facilitated,” said Evans.

CAWIC is recruiting 60 volunteers from Ontario, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador to participate in the study. They are looking for women from all construction sectors with a broad range of experience, including those who are in school in a construction-related program, though not women in leadership positions.

Beginning immediately and continuing until December 2016, participants will be asked to volunteer a few hours each month. They will be asked to share personal experiences, on a strictly confidential basis, success stories and challenges in their specific sector. Input will be provided through in-person and telephone meetings, focus groups, surveys and other oral and/or written feedback. Any travel expenses for in-person meetings will be covered. CAWIC will accommodate participants’ schedules as much as possible to facilitate participation.

The feedback will then be taken and presented to employers participating in the study to determine what steps need to be taken.

“It’s going to be the research from the female participants about what’s wrong and what’s stopping them from entering, staying in and being promoted within the industry. Then we’re going to turn to the employers and say ‘this is what our research tells us are the issues and the roadblocks, now, employers tell us how to resolve these. Tell us because we’re going to do it together,’” explained Evans.

For the employer portion of the study, CAWIC hopes to hear from construction industry employers from Ontario, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Whoever is hiring in a construction-related role, those are the ones that we want on board,” said Evans.

This will be the first project of its kind to directly involve the employers, she said.

“We have to stop talking and we actually have to start making change. Now it’s time for us to make change and to make change you have to get the industry directly involved. You can’t just talk to the industry, you have to get them involved and say come and work with us and let’s do this together.”

Females interested in participating can send a brief statement of interest and CV to swc@cawic.ca by no later than June 30. CAWIC will communicate with selected participants by July 15.

Employers are encouraged to send a brief statement of interest and description of how your company is involved in the industry and in what sector to swc@cawic.ca no later than July 15.

For more information, visit www.cawic.ca.

by Kelly Lapointe

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