Women in construction bridging the gender gap

A women’s group in Chitakatira Village in Mutare South has made strides in closing the gender gap by venturing into building.

Members of the construction group busy at work.
Members of the construction group busy at work.

The leader of the group, Emery Kamusoka, said that with more job opportunities in the construction industry, women seeking work were finding more doors opening to them.

“If the current trend continues, women may close the gender gap altogether,” she said.

The group has seven members, all trained in building at Vumba Technical College and Magamab Training Centre in Mutare.

Kamusoko is hopeful that, as construction expands in the district, a higher percentage of jobs will go to women.

The group offers its building services to various organisations, including churches, schools and individuals.

Kamusoko said the main reason for forming the group was to break into the male-dominated building industry, make a decent living and prove women were just as capable as men.

The women are currently building a church structure at Chishakwe village in Mutare South. The Zimbabwean visited the building site and found the women had already completed the hard work of carrying river rock, transporting water and making bricks.

The building is up to window level, with frames set for the windows. Three women were laying bricks when our reporter visited and others were installing doors and windows.

“We hope that we will have finished the building by the end of January if we get all the resources from the church,” said Kamusoko, with a flash of both hope and excitement in her eyes.

The group has so far managed to complete an office and administration block at Chitakatira primary school and a shop at Matondo business centre.

The group has also built two houses for individuals in Chitakatira village, as well as blair and traditional toilets at a number of homesteads.

“We hope to expand by having more business. People are making enquiries and we hope to strike more deals and employ more women,” said Kamusoko.

“We are just starting the project, but we are satisfied with what we are getting so far. Many of our members have managed to pay school fees and buy books and uniforms for their kids.”

Some organisations, however, still seemed to have a problem with female builders, she said.

“We have been sending tender documents for building contracts but, in many cases, the men in charge of these tenders are sabotaging our applications,” she said. “They think that, as women, we will not be able to deliver. We want to urge men to change their attitudes towards women. We can do what men can do,” she added.

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