Women and EU Construction – Inclusion Must Happen

The EU construction needs to employ more women if it is to have a sustainable future. FEMCON project is an ERASMUS+  funded project, that uses VET education to activate the valuable female workforce and emphases the role education must play as a catalyst in sustainable and
impactful change. FEMCON will upskill VET educators empowering them with the knowledge and resources to increase the attractiveness of construction to women. On a wider level, it will upskill the construction industry to be more INCLUSIVE and WELCOMING FOR WOMEN. It will lead to an increase in “women in visible roles” in the sector and an increase in women choosing a construction career.


Through carefully crafted Project Results, it will lead to systemic improvement in the safety, protection and rights of women construction workers, and destigmatise their position as a vulnerable group in the construction industry workforce.

The EU construction needs to employ more women if it is to have a sustainable future.


FEMCON partners come from various countries across Europe. A review of our partner country’s circumstances is insightful.


According to the barometer of the Polish labour market – 2020, the booming construction industry in particular is suffering from the shortage of skilled workers at a time the quality of vocational training has been falling for decades. There are still significant differences in employment between men & women working in the construction industry, but it cannot be said that construction is only male construction occupation. The Chamber of Civil Engineers reports that women constitute 12% (14,522 at the end of 2020) in the self-government of construction engineers. It is different when it comes to active architects or skilled trades. 10,356 women chose construction as their field of study in 2018, which is 34.1% of all students, while in 2017 it was 32.8%. While the trend of female students in construction increases, the VET sector needs to follow up & get ready.


The CSO estimates that only 5.5% of the workforce across all construction-related sectors are women. The Construction Industry Federation published a Member Diversity Survey & the need is clear– “without female talent, the industry’s efforts to deliver critical Government strategies in housing & infrastructure such as Rebuilding Ireland, the National Development Plan & the National Planning Framework may fall short. We all need to do more to proactively facilitate women in the industry & to influence young women to choose construction as a career.”


The no of employed women during 2020 fell back to the levels of 2011 & 2012, according to the report ‘Women in Construction 2020’, published by Construction Industry Observatory. The number of women trained in Fundación Laboral de la Construcción also fell by 5.9% in 2020 compared to the previous year, when it represented 8.5% of the total.


Women have only been allowed to work in construction for 26 years. Until 1994, the 120-year-old employment ban for women in the main construction trade was still in effect in the old federal states. While it was less than 10% in 2010, the number of women in the construction industry has now grown to around 15%, according to the Federal Employment Agency. According to the Federal Statistical Office, women are most often to be found on the construction site in the fields of architecture, civil engineering, painting or in surveying & cartography. The situation is different in the skilled trades. In areas such as civil engineering, carpentry or flooring, the proportion of female employees
fluctuates at a mere 1-3%.


Currently, women only make 9% of the Danish construction industry. In just ten years, Denmark will be in a lack of 17.000 skilled builders & craftsmen in the Danish building & construction industry & by now a whole of 65% of the industry’s businesses express that they have experienced a considerable lack of skilled labour within the recent year.


Join the FEMCON social media channels to find out more and support our cause:




Sara Leahy

Sligo photographer specializing in family and wedding portraits




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