The construction industry is one of the largest sectors in Sri Lanka. Since, there is rapid growth of new technologies in today’s global market, there is a need to foster human skills and knowledge related to employment in the sector. However, the Sri Lankan construction industry is facing technical and managerial skill shortages as well as worker capacity issues. Further, the industry is facing industrial issues such as delivering timely project completion, within budget and for desired quality. ‘Women in construction’ has been a topic of concern by many nations, for many years. Given the rapid growth and demand in the construction sector, there has been an incremental increase in the participation of women in construction but this is still relatively minor when compared with other fields such as manufacturing, administration or academic. According to Sri Lankan vocational education reports, though there are around 40 percent of students enrolled in local technical colleges are female, over 70 percent of them are applying for nontechnical and culturally accepted feminine courses such as home science, dressmaking, beauty culture and secretarial courses. Aditionally, since gender differentiation occurs in local industries, women are significantly underrepresented in technical fields such as construction and there are observable social barriers to entry including the physical demands of construction work, male construction worker behavior and social stereotyping of construction as a male occupation. This paper examines the reasons for the limited participation rate of females in the construction sector.

Note on the Author

Vijayaragunathan Srivishagan is a doctoral student in Management Science and is a Lecturer in the Civil Engineering Department at the University College of Matara in Sri Lanka.

Rasanthi Thalpage is a Lecturer in Civil Engineering Department at the University College of Matara in Sri Lanka.