Women in Construction Management


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Published June, 2009

Barbara L. Chun
Tishman Construction Corporation of Illinois
Chicago, IL

David Arditi, Illinois Institute of Technology
Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Construction Engineering and Management Program
Chicago, IL

Gulsah Balci
Chicago Commercial Contractors, LLC
Huntley, IL


Labor statistics indicate that the construction industry is male dominated.  According to the literature, women are reluctant to join the workforce; they experience discrimination when they apply for a job or when they are part of the workforce.  A survey was conducted by the authors in 2008 to clarify the perceptions relative to women in construction management positions.  The respondents consisted of (1) male construction managers who had never worked with female construction managers, (2) male construction managers who collaborated with female construction managers in the past, and (3) female construction managers.  The findings indicate that female construction managers perceive bias against them in the form of skepticism and indifference as a response to their gender.  Most respondents believe that female construction managers are as qualified, capable and approachable as male construction managers.  Only male construction managers who had never worked with female construction managers call women’s effectiveness to question.  The negative perceptions relative to women are likely to dissipate as more women are employed in construction management positions.


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