Participation of WOMEN in Construction Sector

By Marina Jeyaseelan


According to the “Kamus Dewan” (1998), women are a female or a girl that has specific properties or qualities that are not owned by the man. Women have several characteristics which are opposite the nature of the men. Women have higher emotional level than men, for example, women easily distracted while doing a particular task if their minds in not in good condition or when then faced with a problem.

A study by Epstein (1973) Women often associated with the power sensitivity which ate often said to be something extreme. However, either it knowing or not, the sensitivity of the women that can caused they are able to do their responsibilities and also as a girl, perfect wife and also as a mother for their kids. Without the sensitivity, they will not aware to the needs and also requirements in daily life. This sensitivity is quite privilege for a women because it means she able to express love and also affection that cannot be measured either as a child, a wife or a mother to her children. In terms of physical, the woman is given by the Creator to have less physical strength compared to man. Women are created which are requires of help and support from the men itself. Although women are lacking in term of physical strength, but women has the intellectual strength while thinking which they are able to carry them along with the men on this earth.


In 2015, there were 187,265 Women-owned establishments as compared to 127,533 establishments in 2010 with an annual growth rate at 8.0 per cent. Services sector recorded the highest contribution with 92.7 per cent (173,536 establishments), followed by Manufacturing sector 5.1 per cent (9,546 establishments) and Construction sector 1.4 per cent (2,622 establishments). Agriculture sector posted the highest annual growth of 21.6 per cent followed by Construction sector (13.8%) and Services sector (8.2%).


The number of persons engaged in Women-owned establishments were 853,559 persons. Out of this total, 576,462 persons or 67.5 per cent were paid full-time employees. A total of 242,547 persons were working proprietors and unpaid family workers (28.4%) whilst 34,550 persons (4.1%) were paid part-time employees.


In 2015, salaries & wages paid for Women-owned establishments amounted to RM14.1 billion, with annual growth of 20.7 percent as compared to 2010. Services sector recorded the highest total salaries & wages paid RM10.1 billion with percentage contribution of 71.3 per cent. This was followed by Manufacturing and Construction sector RM2.0 billion (14.1%) and RM1.3 billion (9.3%) respectively.

Released By:
22 December 2017

Nowadays, women are able to work intelligently by using time efficiently, good workforce management and emphasizes productivity in managing the priority either in career and personal life. Women are now able to develop their potential to the optimum and take all the advantage of every opportunity to develop themselves. An achievement of women in various fields is no longer in doubt, even if women be able to compete with men.

However, it cannot be denied that women are often associated with jobs that do not require physical strength, not involving the machine, requiring precision, and in clean and tidy work environment (Ratnawati Yuni Suryandari, 2013). This perception may hinder any effort to attract women to become manual workers for the construction industry of Malaysia. Nevertheless, from historical perspective, women have long been involved in heavy work which suggests that there should not be an issue for them to engage in construction field.

In Malaysia, before independence, many women worked alongside their husbands to help generate income. If paddy planting was the domain of Malay women, Chinese women were found in tin mining while Indian women in commercial crop cultivation such as rubber, pepper, gambier and pineapple (Nik Safiah Karim, 2009).

In relation to construction, across countries, there has been increasing literature describing the participation of women as trade workers. Women earliest involvement as skilled labour was reviewed and discussed by Hatipkarasulu & Roff (2011). The authors stated that throughout the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, middle-class women living in France, Spain and Germany learned to perform construction skilled works under the supervision of their fathers or husbands. Some examples of the trades performed by women include masons, carpenters and door makers. Women significant involvement as skilled labour in the history of the construction industry was during the two world wars. In the UK, during these two wars, the recruitment of women in construction was vital to replace the vacancies left by men who were involved in the wars (Briscoe, 2005; Clarke, Michielsens, & Wall, 2006; Andrew W. Gale, 1994; Gurjao, 2006). Some examples of the tasks performed by women include plumbing, ship writing and carpentry. However, when the wars end, majority of the women returned to their traditional role and the jobs in construction was reverted to the men (Gurjao, 2006).

In Malaysia, literature describing the involvement of women as skilled workers is limited. As present, the statistics gathered from the CIDB shows that there are women who worked as skilled workers even though the nature of work performed is not clearly stated (CIDB, 2012). While there are authors who argue that women are incapable to handle machines which highly associated with technical works, research conducted by Nur Hafizah Yusoff & Rahimah Abdul Aziz, (2012) is regarded to refute the claim and assert that if women were given the opportunities and exposure, they could become proficient after 6 years.


As we all aware, women and careers is not an issues in Malaysia but it is the impact of the development and availability of the progress women to develop themselves to be more advanced. The contribution of the role of women in country development is very large, for example in the fields of politics, business, education, industry and so on. Now, the women and her career are growing from year by year. An increasing the number of female workers in industry opened the eyes of all parties that all women are able to compete in the era of globalization to progress and sustainable economic development.

In this regard, the women also made new inspiration as well as competitors to men so all men not complacent with the abilities that they have. So, all women that work in this industry will be respected and not easy to be eliminated in the realization of the country’s hope where it is to achieve an industrialised nation by the year 2020.