Women in Construction in South Africa: Investigating the Feminine Footprint of the South African Construction Industry

Authors: Aghaegbuna Ozumba (University of the
Witwatersrand), Chineme Ozumba (University of the Witwatersrand)


The article presents an exploration into the performance of the South African construction industry
with regard to its feminine footprint. Focus of the study is female employment and promotion, and
the impact on levels and types of work, with regard to population characteristics. Democratic South
Africa has enabled public and private efforts to transform the nation from the previous apartheid
legacy, which includes discrimination against women. Consequently gender mainstreaming in postapartheid
South Africa has enabled interventions that aim to emancipate women, especially in the
area of labor. However, the country is behind the set goals in terms of women and work, especially
in male-dominated environments such as the construction industry. The situation is explored
through a purposive sample of literature related to women and work, and women in construction in
South Africa. This is combined with analysis of labor statistics. The major limitation is the
secondary nature of data used for the study. Findings at this stage suggest sub-optimal growth in
female employment. There are also appreciable disparities between the informal and formal sectors,
and between the levels and types of work, according to population characteristics.

Keywords: construction, development, employment, gender, women.