It’s no secret that work in construction, architecture, property management, and urban design was once considered to be a ‘man’s job.’
From fields that were once bereft of women, today we see women of a wide variety of different cultures, backgrounds, and ages, beginning – and sustaining – their careers in construction and property-related disciplines.
Prica Global is proud to be pioneers in this regard, with a long history of hiring women for leadership positions. For example, when Prica Global Design Studios (PGDS) first emerged, our first Lead Architect was a woman – and she still sits in this role today. We have women in a variety of leadership roles across our preferred partners, leading everything from property maintenance, to leasing operations, to Accommod8U. (For more information on the women at Prica Global, please scroll down to the end of this blog to learn about their stories through a series of inspiring interviews!)
With Prica Global’s track record of advancing women in progressive leadership positions, the opportunity to launch our new blog series today - on International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023 – felt right.
Although we are seeing more women in construction and design industries generally, progress is slow across our province, nationally, and globally. According to a 2019 study by Prism Economics and Analysis, women in Ontario comprised 12 per cent of the construction industry workforce. Althoug a substantial gain from previous decades, women comprised only three per cent of on-site workforces, indicating that there’s much more work to be done to reach gender equality, equity, and parity, in development-related industries.
Although nearly 50 per cent of architecture graduates are women, fewer than 30 per cent remain in the field after a few years. Women remain the targets of systemic and unconscious biases, expressed as derogatory remarks on construction site visits, lower pay, and slower rates of promotion and leadership opportunities. Women also face challenges when returning from maternity leave to male-dominated fields. These difficulties are all compounded by the reality that, even in Canada, the burden of child-rearing falls disproportionately on women rather than men.
Despite these stumbling blocks, efforts to push for equality are working and the construction and property management industries are trending in the right direction. Where once skills such as drywall, plumbing, taping, landscaping, and painting were dominated by men, more women are entering these trades annually, bringing with them skills and levels of resilience that enhance the quality of workspersonship for all parties and organizations involved.
What is spurring the new trend toward equity in development and construction?
Although changing social standards and norms are essential, education is a crucial component of establishing more women in construction, and we today see new programs emerging across Ontario and Canada to provide this. For instance, operated by the Centre for Skills and Development, a Women In Skilled Trades (WIST) program runs an Enhanced General Carpentry for Women program that helps launch new careers in the construction industry. As new generations of Canadians grow up to recognize that women belong in construction as much as men, programs such as WIST will become cornerstones of a development industry that prides itself on equality rather than outdated concepts of masculinity.
In architecture, the BEAT – Building Equity in Architecture Toronto – is another example of a volunteer-based and non-profit organization that aims to empower and educate women in the design community.
We are truly honoured to employ women across Prica Global Enterprises and our partners, and we recognize that their essential contributions are what make each of our organizations successful. In order to build the future and create progressive designs and construction techniques, the voices, skills, and resiliency of women, is essential.
Today, on March 8th, International Women’s Day, we give thanks to the women that have struggled to make this industry – and Canada – more equitable, fairer, and ultimately better and more just, for all of us and for the future of our society more generally.
What can you do to learn more and get involved? Check out some of these non-profit and volunteer organizations that are making a real difference in our community, and across the fields of development, design, architecture, and property management:
Building Equality in Architecture Toronto
The Canadian Association of Women in Construction
Women in Architecture (Journal)
The Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
The Crew Network for Women in Real Estate
The Organization of Women Design Architects and Professionals