gender equality

Building my house with a gender equality dream

Achieving gender financial equality starts with looking at the status quo and asking yourself what small thing can you do to change it?

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When I was a little girl, I would dig in the dirt and drive a Matchbox car up to a rock, pretending it was my house. Today, I’m still digging in the mud but I’m building my own home and dreaming of gender equality in the construction team.

The reason why I have this goal, of employing a 50/50 or close to it, gender diverse build team, is pretty simple.

The Government has committed $35 billion in industry specific job creation measures because of the impact of COVID-19 and the lion’s share of it is going to the construction industry – which is male dominated.  I would like to do my bit to ensure that women as much as men get to see some direct in-pocket benefits.

So I’ve set a goal of putting together a gender diverse construction team and I’ll try my best to get as close to I can to achieving it.

There are already some challenges in pursuit of gender equality, such as location and number of female trades in my area relative to male trades.

The other issue is availability with tradies, including carpenters, builders, electricians, roofers etc, all in hot demand due to the hugely popular government’s home builders grant.

The scheme has exceeded expectations with around 82,000 applications since it was announced last year.

The scheme, (previously offered grants of up to $25,000) and now offers grants of up to $15,000 for major home renovations that cost between $150,000 and $750,000 as long as the property is valued under $1.5 million, has already had thousands of people sign up to fix up their home.

But there are also some positives to report as I progress on the Equality Build, such as a growing list of family run companies with men and women employed who are happy to quote and even travel to do the work. Please drop me a line if you have recommendations of organisations to connect with!

Interestingly as I analysed data for the latest Women’s Index I also found that the government’s stimulus has had the positive effect of boosting employment among women in construction.

Male dominated industries of Transport, Postal and Warehousing and Construction did the most hiring of women in the December quarter as captured in November 2020 data.

Construction, which is also employing more women than prior to the health crisis added 18% more women to full-time positions but reduced part-timers by 3% for women. Surprisingly, male full and part-time employment in Construction decreased by 1% and 5% respectively in the December quarter.

The gender pay gap in construction is above the national average average and reflects a full-time weekly wage of $1,394 for women versus $1,668 for men.

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