Women added to the mix

by Tania Wannenburg
Women in readymix Jnl 1 15

It may be somewhat unusual due to stereotypes over the years, but it’s time that the industry consider women as invaluable role players within the readymix concrete sector.

Women may be the key ingredient that the readymix concrete industry needs to make better concrete more consistently. This is according to Karen Stanford, an independent auditor who undertakes compliance audits for members of the Southern Africa Readymix Association (Sarma).

“By nature, women have inherent skills that are highly sought after at readymix and batching plants, yet only a handful of women ever make it into this industry as a result of the ill-conceived idea that the work is too hard or the job too dirty for women,” she continues.

Speaking at the association’s recent conference in Johannesburg, she said that the industry has to embrace the different skill sets of women and encourage them to join the ranks of readymix workers.

Karen was one of the first females in the concrete industry in South Africa, having worked her way through different roles in the manufacturing of cement as well as concrete. “The industry tends to suffer from the notion that the work is too tough for girls,” she enthuses. “Yet in arguably tougher jobs in the construction and mining industries they are thriving.”

At the event, Karen asked the audience of readymix professionals to consider the following traits of women in the workplace and convince company leaders to hire more members of the fairer sex:

•    Women have the mental strength and staying power to work hard for long hours;
•    It is in their nature to be calmer;
•    They are less prone to take shortcuts;
•    They have all the right characteristics to make them good truck mixer operators;
•    Typically, women wishing to enter this type of industry have strong characters and are prepared to work long hours and do whatever is required to get the job done.

Although some allowances need to be made for matters such as separate showers, family commitments (as mothers), maternity leave, etc, the skills mentioned and the hardworking nature of most women should make them ideal candidates for many jobs in concrete readymix plants.

For more information visit www.sarma.co.za

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