The Indian construction sector is estimated to employ 7 million (12 per cent) female workers compared to 50 million male workers, according to a report.

Besides, there is a severe lack of women in technical and upper management positions in India’s real estate industry. “The number of women engaged in other technical and managerial roles (architects, civil engineers, supervisors) stood at just 1.4 per cent. Of this, less than 2 per cent reach leadership positions,” said the report by Primus Partners and WTCA.

Compared to their male counterparts, women workers in the labour force and in technical and leadership roles, earn 30–40 per cent and 15 per cent lesser, respectively.

Women are under-represented even in mid-level and semi-skilled positions, such as site managers, contractors, surveyors, carpenters, plumbers, painters, and masons.

According to the report, women are primarily employed in low-paying and dangerous jobs - lifting large loads, as brick kiln workers, quarry workers, slab pourers, stone shakers, and load carriers.

In 2021, 19 per cent of women workers were employed in industries such as nursing, elementary and middle school teaching, social work and counselling, compared to the global average of 46 per cent.

The real estate sector remains a deterrent, rather than a preferred sector for Indian women. Future prospects for the industry will see more women take on demanding roles in sales and marketing, finance, administration, and human resource management. This can be seen in the fundamental changes made to the RERA-established regulatory mechanisms. As we look to the future, women are increasingly disproving these stereotypes and shattering the glass ceiling,” said Aarti Harbhajanka, co-founder and managing director, Primus Partners.

Improving workplace safety, providing gender sensitivity training, introducing skilling initiatives for women at all levels, specialised innovation and investment funds to improve integration of women, gender inclusion in government contracts, setting up investment funds for women-led companies in real estate, and more, will help close the gender gap in the industry, it said.

“Real estate and construction is India’s second largest industry after agriculture, and it contributes significantly to the country’s overall GDP. Yet, it remains the least skilled industry for workers, especially women. Women’s participation in the construction industry is critical not only to achieve higher growth, but also for the country’s overall social development,” said Khair Ull Nissa Sheikh, Board Member, WTCA.

Primus Partners and World Trade Centre have come up with a report titled Pink Collar Skilling: Unleashing Women’s Power in the Real Estate Sector to enhance female participation in the industry.