International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year and is the focal point in the movement for the rights and acknowledgement of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also encourages society – as well as us all, individually – to help accelerate women’s equality.

This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias – highlighting how a world free from bias, stereotypes and discrimination can improve all our lives. A gender equal world is one which is diverse, equitable and inclusive – a world where difference is valued and celebrated.

To help defeat gender inequality and break pre-existing biases, IWD 22 has three clear aims:

  • Celebrate women’s achievements
  • Raise awareness against bias
  • Take action for equality.

To achieve this, IWD has created a number of missions which will have tangible effects and results. Celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, while calling out inequality, is key.

The missions are packed with resources to help you, and others around you, break the bias. They are:

You can find out more about what is happening on the day and how to get involved on the International Women’s Day website.

Women in construction

The construction industry has come a long way when it comes to the representation of women – but there is still more to be done.

We need more women in construction to reflect the society we live in. Women use the spaces, so they should be building them too.

For too long the industry was considered to be more suited to men, but this has changed, and continues to develop, with construction becoming an ideal industry for anyone to work in. Wages are rising for female construction workers too, and the proportion of women in senior roles has nearly trebled since 2005. 

Women make up around 14% of the overall construction workforce, but just 2% of onsite roles. This rate has steadily increased over the years, but an obstacle can be perceived biases and perceptions of the industry.

This was noted in CITB’s recent Rethinking Recruitment research, which found that the perceived ‘macho culture’ of construction can put women off joining the industry. However, the research discovered that this is typically a perception rather than reality: when women do join construction, they tend to view it as welcoming, open and diverse.

While there’s plenty of positive progress, the industry should not stop here. That’s why the work of IWD is so important, especially with breaking biases to help improve the perceptions of construction.

Also, women have long been pioneers in construction – with their achievements spanning centuries – from revolutionising urban planning to designing new forms of building. You can find out more in our a brief history of women in construction article.

Stories of women in construction

Women work in every part of the construction industry, at all levels. Read the stories of some inspirational women below - including how they got into the industry, and why construction may be perfect for you!

The Rebuild Project

The Rebuild Project was launched as part of International Women’s Day 2021, and it highlights the “three Rs” for women in construction:

  • Better Representation: Increase the percentage of women joining the industry at all levels
  • Better Recognition: Improve the percentage of women holding board-level and senior positions
  • Better Renumeration: Address the pay differentials and close the gender pay gap.

The project is asking the government to use their buying power to help address inequality in the construction industry. By placing gender equality at the heart of major decisions – including procurement – it is hoped that it will be seen as important as making healthy profits and maintaining a skilled workforce.

The project has a number of key targets:

  • Women holding 30% of executive board directorships by 2025
  • Women taking up 50% of entry level positions in construction by 2025
  • Women representing 50% of positions in executive teams by 2030
  • Reduce the gender pay gap to zero by 2035.

Find out more about the Rebuild Project here.

Women in construction organisations

There’s a number of fantastic organisations, initiatives and charities aimed at increasing the representation of women in the construction industry. They provide information and resources to help expand the number of opportunities available to women, as well as breaking existing biases and perceptions of who construction is for.

Check out how to get involved with them below.

Women into Construction is a community and resource hub for women in the industry.

Acting as a one stop shop, the platform provides an online community of women offering advice, resources, mentoring, health & wellbeing support and much more. It is free to join for students.

Equate Scotland focusses on increasing the numbers of women working in STEM industries. Women can access training and one to one support, no matter what stage your career is at, as well as attend events and find jobs through its careers hub.

Women into Construction provides bespoke support to women looking to work in construction and assists employers in recruiting more women to help create a more gender-equal workforce.

With a long-term goal of changing the face of construction, Women into Construction seeks to normalise the position of women within the industry.

WISE (Women in Science, Technology and Engineering) enables and energises people in business, industry and education to increase the participation, contribution and success of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

It works with construction companies to foster greater diversity within their workforce, while encouraging more young women to study STEM subjects.

Women in Property creates opportunities, expands knowledge and inspires change for women working in the property and construction industry.

They nurture women aspiring to a career in construction, as well as supporting those already established within the industry. 

Offering workshops, site visits, key note talks and social events, the network links members to fellow professionals across the UK.

Get involved with International Women’s Day 2022

International Women’s Day is a global event which is not country, group, nor organisation specific – so there’s endless ways to get involved:

On social media, use the hashtags #IWD2022 and #BreakTheBias to join the conversation.