Women working in the European Union (EU) construction, wood and forestry industries continue to be severely underrepresented. There is an upward trend, but the pace is slow. Too slow. This state of play needs to be altered, and the players need to focus more on the opportunities to achieve the transformation needed. The European Green Deal, the digitalisation era, the Renovation Wave, the path to a low/zero carbon industry, should lead to more qualified jobs for women and for young people – workers so needed to tackle the labour shortage in the construction, wood, and forestry sectors.
However, this change must be based on quality, direct jobs, proper training and skills, fair wages, and good social protection.
Trade unions have a pivotal role in leading this transformation. The EFBWW will continue to push for a Gender Agenda at the European level and to mainstream the gender perspective in every policy area. This work began in 2011, with the creation of the EFBWW Women’s Network to deal with gender policy issues related to our sectors and to share initiatives, identifying a space in the debate with other European organisations, within the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and with the Building and Wood Workers International (BWI). In 2019, we elected two female members in the new presidium (2/7 or 28.5%).
As a follow-up to the resolution on gender equality adopted at the EFBWW congress in 2019, the topic became a horizontal priority and an integral part of the portfolio of all political staff. The present study strengthens our commitment to promote gender equality: to identify, together without affiliates, the main challenges faced by women in construction, wood, and forestry, but also to highlight the good practices and good examples of how to overcome obstacles, and to present the solutions in a practical and targeted way for those working in the field.
At national level, trade unions are essential to spearhead the change and to include the gender equality perspective into the national, sectoral and company levels. To help in this task, we developed this guide which includes existing good practices and policies addressing women’s needs, making it a practical and useful tool for negotiators during collective agreement negotiations.