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Stakeholders rally support for gender inclusion in construction sector

Stakeholders have canvassed support for gender parity and inclusion in the construction sector as part of efforts to harness talents and boost development in the…

Stakeholders have canvassed support for gender parity and inclusion in the construction sector as part of efforts to harness talents and boost development in the sector.

They made the call at the ARe-SuRe – Gender Diversification of The Construction Industry Workforce: Attaining, Recruiting, Supporting and Retaining (ARe-SuRe) Women Graduates’ Conference in Abuja recently which was organised by the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) Foundation.

Speaking at the event, NIQS’ President, Kene Nzekwe, said the conference was not merely about acknowledging gender disparity, but also to actively dismantle the barriers.

Nzekwe said, “This forum will serve as a catalyst for a groundbreaking dialogue, innovative strategies and actionable solutions. The words: ‘Attracting, Recruiting, Supporting and Retaining’ which make up the acronym ARe-SuRe encapsulate the core pillars upon which we can build a more diverse and enabling construction landscape.

“It allows some of the best minds to come together as a think tank to explore effective methods and strategies to attract talented women graduates to the construction industry. These strategies could include targeted recruitment practices, the creation of supportive work environments and initiatives that foster long-term career growth for women in this field.”

In her contribution, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Urban Shelter, Sa’adiya Aliyu Aminu, highlighted the need for gender inclusion in work places where recruitments were done devoid of gender, as well as other social warfare and packages.

She said, “The construction sector has been perceived as a masculine sector where only men can do the job as the industry has a manly focus and stereotype, and that is why despite advancement, construction has limited space for women.”

She proposed that, “Collaboration between stakeholders at all levels with the government to support and make the construction industry more inclusive for women, including expanding the scope for recruitment, and also to encourage women to go into more STEM subjects like architecture, quantity survey and engineering.”

In his keynote address, the Vice Chancellor (VC) of Prime University, Prof Muhammad A. Mainoma, said community engagement and outreach programmes remained key aspects of promoting gender diversification in the construction industry and workforce.

He explained that, “Nigeria needs to promote training and development opportunities that are tailored to the needs of women. We need to create flexible work arrangements that allow women to balance work and family responsibilities.

“An inclusive workplace fosters retention as it encourages open dialogue, addresses biases, diverse solutions, perspectives and promotes equal opportunities. When women feel valued, respected and not discriminated against, they are more likely to remain committed and successful in the careers within the industry.”

On her part, the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, said the construction industry played a pivotal role in shaping “our nation, and its success is intrinsically linked to the diversity of its workforce.”

She added that the conference was a call to action to break down barriers, dispel stereotypes and create opportunities for women to thrive in the construction industry.

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