New online tool helps construction bosses bulldoze sexual harassment on the job-site

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
5 Min Read

 A new campaign will support construction bosses to demolish sexual harassment on the job site. 

The newly launched management support service comes in the wake of new legal regulations introduced in December, requiring employers to take more proactive steps to tackle the industry’s damning sexual harassment statistics. 

Currently, women account for just 13 per cent of all construction-related jobs and just over 2 per cent of trade-related roles.

But shockingly, more than half say they have been a target of sexual harassment while on the tools. 

Women are more likely to face sexist behaviour when working in male-dominated industries such as construction, with 7 out of 10 saying they have experienced discrimination at work. 

The excessive sexual harassment numbers have been identified as one of the key reasons preventing more women from entering the construction industry, as well as one of the main justifications listed for the high rates of females within the sector. 

However, with the industry needing to attract nearly 460,000 more construction workers by 2026 to keep up with demands, boosting female participation and retention will form a critical foundation to address the nation’s skilled worker shortage. 

The Our Watch Lead the Change campaign will provide industry leaders with a range of online resources to help construction bosses prevent, address and manage sexual harassment on the work site. 

Our Watch Chief Executive Officer Patty Kinnserly says workplace sexual harassment is too prevalent; industry leaders can break ground on a cultural change to demolish the behaviour. 

“Sexual harassment happens because of sexism and disrespect,” she said. 

“By creating a culture of respect and equality, workplaces can prevent sexual harassment.

“Workplaces can start by auditing their systems and processes to consider whether they directly or indirectly negatively impact men or women; they can help build their leadership team’s commitment to gender equality and respect; and they can action a step-by-step process to achieving equality and respect.”

The free resources include workplace assessment tools, how-to-guides, staff training videos, checklists, summarised workplace standards and practice guides. 

Women in Construction Statistics

  • Women account for just 13 per cent of all construction-related jobs. 
  • Women account for just over 2 per cent of trade-related roles. 
  • 70 per cent of women say they have experienced discrimination at work. 
  • 42 per cent of men think construction is too physical for women. 
  • 35 per cent of construction firms employ no women at all.
  • 51% of women in the building and construction sector have experienced sexual harassment.
  • 91% of workplace leaders surveyed agreed sexual harassment in workplaces should be a priority for employers to address.
  • Women in leadership roles reduce sexual harassment by 20 per cent. 

So far, the government-funded campaign has received universal industry support, with 90 per cent of workplace leaders surveyed believing sexual harassment at work is a serious issue and should be addressed as a priority. 

Federal Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Justine Elliot says women shouldn’t be changing careers due to sexism, discrimination or harassment. 

“Too many women in Australia are denied the basic right of working in an environment that is free from harassment, disrespect and bullying,” she said. 

“We have come too far as a society to continue to allow thousands of women to be pushed out of jobs and opportunities as a consequence of employers not demonstrating the leadership required to ensure their safety and security.

“We are looking to industry and business leaders to take up this challenge and help us stamp out this unfair treatment and foster equality and respect in the workplace once and for all.”

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.