Rasa Vapsviene. Engineer – estimator in company

QUESTIONWhat position do you currently hold and what is your professional education? How long have you been working in the construction industry?

ANSWER: At the moment, I hold the position of engineer – estimator in the company, I have a master’s degree in construction engineering from the Kaunas University of Technology. I have been working in this field for over 14 years.

QUESTION: How do you assess the current situation of women in the construction sector?

ANSWER: There are much fewer women as construction engineers in the Lithuanian construction market than men. Most of them work as project managers. In the direct construction sector, there are very few construction managers. Maybe this is due to the fact that it is a more masculine environment, the employer’s preconceived notions about competencies, lower wages for the same positions than men. Woman also have to lead a mostly male team directly on the construction site, and some of them are certainly skeptical of female supremacy. For now, patriarchy prevails in our society, so for a part of society, a woman leading them causes a desire to at least oppose, challenge, ignore instructions. Therefore, establishing the authority of the manager takes a lot of time and effort.

QUESTIONWhat do you think is the reason for that? What measures could be taken to attract more women to this sector?

ANSWER: From Soviet times, civil engineering was considered a more masculine profession, with women in the construction sector working more in professions such as painters. This attitude comes to children from the attitude of their parents or grandparents, their experience and shapes their worldview and choice of specialty. There should be more articles, interviews and other information about this specialty, opportunities and prospects in the public space.

QUESTION: What is the role of training institutions in attracting more women and young people to the construction sector?

ANSWER: Universities and VET centers must more popularize specialties related to the construcion sector. When organizing open-door days in educational institutions or science fairs for future students, more enviable women working in this field and who have reached career heights should be presented. There are many examples of women leading or holding senior positions in construction companies. Educational institutions must let both women and young people understand that this specialty is promising, that new technologies and scientific progress will force them to constantly improve and move forward.

QUESTION: Continuing on this topic of women in the construction sector, do you see any specific advantages, any specific added value in bringing women into the sector?

ANSWER: A woman in a male team forces healthy competition on both sides, raising competences and qualifications.

QUESTION: What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the construction industry?

ANSWER: There is no need to be afraid to choose this profession, the ice has already been broken. Women professionals are definitely valued and will definitely be equal in value and salary to men over time.