Advancing women’s participation in Kenya’s construction industry: lessons from Buildher
Valued at roughly $5.5 billion and growing at 7% per year, the construction sector in Kenya has emerged as an important source of employment for thousands of people. Government policies such as the Kenya Vision 2030 and the “Big 4 Agenda” — which identify affordable housing as a key priority — further support the growth of this sector. Despite the clear opportunity, women are underrepresented in this sector, accounting for just 3% of workers.
This project will examine the effectiveness of an innovative initiative aimed at fostering entry and retainment of women in the construction sector in Kenya, developed by a local non-profit social enterprise, Buildher. The project will explore what works to increase women's successful participation in this male-dominated sector and whether and how lessons and successes can be scaled. It will develop insights on how women can be supported by employers, communities, and training providers to enter and succeed in the construction sector.
In addition, Kenya’s construction industry has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the country puts in place measures to support the sector, it is important to ensure that such measures do not further marginalize women and to introduce measures to redress the entrenched gender barriers. Insights from this project will provide valuable input to inform government and private sector actions in building back better.
This project is supported under the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) East Africa initiative, jointly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and IDRC. GrOW East Africa seeks to spur transformative change to advance gender equality in the world of work.