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GENDER equality in the construction industry will take nearly 200 years to achieve at the current rate of progress, the GMB revealed today.
According to statistics presented to the union’s annual conference in Brighton, it could be the year 2194 before the number of women in construction will equal men.
There are an estimated 60,972 more women working in construction than in 2009.
However, as a proportion of the overall workforce, this represents an increase of only 2.1 per cent.
A mere one in eight construction workers is female, the lowest proportion of any industrial sector.
The GMB has announced plans for a summit with major employers working ont the construction of the Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power station to discuss the damning statistics.
They will meet HPC management and major contractor Doosan Babcok, which supplies labour to the £18 billion project, to consider barriers to women entering the construction industry.
GMB national secretary Jude Brimble aid: “Our analysis is a sobering reminder of the scale of the challenge facing the industry.
“As a union, we are committed to advancing the cause of gender equality in all industries.
“That’s why we have arranged our groundbreaking Hinkley Point summit, where we will discuss with the major players how to increase the number of women in the construction of the project.”
Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: “These figures show the scale of the challenge.
“But major state-backed projects like HPC are a chance for the government to step in and take action.
“Ministers should tell us how they will ensure that the opportunities they present will be open to all.
“We need to ensure that apprenticeships, for example, are available to more women and people who are historically under-represented in certain jobs and industries.
“But the Tories’ record has fallen far short their rhetoric, failing to set robust targets let alone meet them.”
Ms Rayner added that a Labour government would establish “clear and ambitious targets” for recruiting female apprentices to help women “break through the barriers” and gain access to work in the “key industries of the future.”
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