This paper analyzed the impact of urban women’s participation in the construction business on income generation, gender roles and responsibilities, family and societal perceptions in Zimbabwe. Problems and constraints affecting women’s participation in the sector were also identified. A total of 130 respondents were purposively selected from four urban cities namely Chitungwiza, Marondera, Norton and Rusape. Structured questionnaires and focus group discussions were used as the main data collection instruments. The findings of the study showed that women’s businesses in construction were profitable and constituted an important source of family income. However, business growth was negatively affected by limited access to finance, lack of suitable equipment, high cost of inputs, and training in business and marketing skills. There was also greater gender burden created as women sought to strike a balance between the social roles and economic activities even though the community had a positive perception towards their involvement. There is need for re-orientation of the national housing policy so that it explicitly incorporates the specific needs of women in the construction industry. Strategies that reduce gender burden on women also need to be explored.

Note on the Author

Edward Mutandwa, Lecturer, Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Agriculture, Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe

Noah Sigauke, Scientist, Practical Action, Newlands, Harare

Charles P. Muganiwa, Social Policy Research Consultant, Pfutas Enterprises, Harare, Zimbabwe