While construction remains a predominantly male-run sector, Reabetswe Mampane, Associate Designate in the Dispute Resolution practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, is laying the foundation to make the industry a more attractive career choice for women. Reabetswe says it’s still hard for women to gain the necessary experience when they are not given the opportunities (or instructions) to put their expertise to use and grow their experience.

Reabetswe says she doesn’t think women are necessarily hesitant to enter the construction industry and that it’s more a case of the construction industry being hesitant to offer opportunities to women.

“It is difficult to enter an industry that presents itself as exclusionary and unwilling to accept you based on your gender. Inclusivity in any industry comes down to opportunities. Women should be given more opportunities to be included in the construction industry. It is easy to fall into a pattern of offering work only to the people you are used to working with, but we can’t expect the industry to change and be more inclusive if the opportunities continue to be offered to the same people,” says Reabetswe.

When asked what she thinks men and women in positions of authority can do to promote gender diversity within the workplace, she reiterates that more opportunities need to be offered and that referrals play a major role within the industry.

“People in power positions should also refer clients and colleagues to women. In my experience in the legal industry, this is how most people receive work and become involved.”

The advice she gives to women who are pursuing a qualification in the STEM industry with the goal of working in the built environment, is to keep going.

“It is women like you that are the future of this industry and I cannot wait to work with you one day! This road may be a long and often painful one, but with each step you take, you are laying a brick for others just like you to follow, so it is imperative that you keep going,” concludes Reabetswe.

For more information, contact Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr on +27 (11) 552 8310 or via www.cliffedekkerhofmeyr.com.

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