The readymix concrete industry would do well to involve more women.
Women may be the key ingredient that the readymix concrete industry needs to make better concrete, more consistently.
By nature women have innate skills that are highly sought after by readymix and batching plants, yet only a handful of women ever enter this industry as a result of the ill-conceived idea that the work is too hard or too dirty a job for women. This is according to Karen Stanford, an independent auditor who undertakes compliance audits for members of the Southern Africa Readymix Association (Sarma).
Speaking at the association’s 2014 conference, she said it was time for the industry to embrace the different skills sets of women and to encourage them to join the rank of readymix workers.
Talking from experience
Stanford herself was one of the first females in the concrete industry in South Africa having fulfilled different roles in the manufacturing of cement as well as concrete. This included time doing heavy duties that ranged from work in quarries, where she became the first qualified female surface blaster, to batching plants and beyond.
“The industry tends to suffer from the notion that the work is too tough for girls. Yet in arguably tougher jobs in the construction and mining industries they are thriving. Further afield in the Far East, for example, women are traditionally trusted with getting concrete ingredients right and are responsible for manually carrying and laying millions of tons of concrete every year.
“In the rest of the world women are much more involved. Even through wars and other hardships they were relied on to mix and make concrete. So, if ever we needed proof that women can make concrete, there it is,” Stanford enthused.
She asked the audience of readymix professionals to consider the following traits of women in the workplace and convince company leaders to hire more of the fairer sex:
• Women have the mental strength and staying power to work hard for long hours.
• They are calmer in nature.
• Women are less prone to take shortcuts.
• They have the right characteristics required for 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 things such as separate showers, family commitments (as mothers) and maternity leave, the skills and hardworking nature of most women should make them ideal candidates for many jobs on concrete ready-mixing plants.
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