The Cons/Truction of Gender in the Canadian Construction Industry

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:50 PM
Room: 302
Oral Presentation
Peruvemba JAYA , University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Rukhsana AHMED , University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
We examine the Canadian construction industry by looking at how gender interacts with various markers of identity within the construction industry: such as age, ethnicity, class, race, education etc. in Canada and how these interactions affect women’s participation in this sector. We base our categorization of gender in its broadest sense to include its intersection with other aspects such as ethnicity, race etc. (Denis, 2006; Mohanty, 2003; Spivak, 1999; Tastsoglou, 2006). In the Canadian context, the espoused policies of multiculturalism and immigration provide a context for immigration related research (see http://canada.metropolis.net/index_e.html). However, there are challenges of labour force participation of immigrants and of women in almost every sector (Cohen, 1994; Watts & MacPhail, 2004).

In addition, research on the construction industry in Canada has shown that it is highly gendered in terms of the experiences of women (Watts, 2007) manifested in such behaviours as sexual harassment of women as well as a hierarchical and male dominated culture (Watts, 2007).  At the same time, immigrants into Canada who are very diverse in terms of the various facets of identity outlined above have also tried in some instances to make inroads into the construction industry (Walton-Roberts & Hiebert, 1997).

By performing secondary data analysis (Rubin, Rubin, & Peele, 2005) through a survey of the literature as well as through an examination of construction industry periodicals, we want to examine how gender in its broadest conception as intersecting with race, ethnicity, and age, and other dimensions plays a role in the construction industry in Canada and, if there are differences in various segments of Canadian society.

We will do this by a comparison between mainstream women’s participation and the barriers faced by them, in the construction industry, and ethnic immigrant women.