Construction minister Brian Wilson has urged the industry to increase the number of women working on site from one in 100 to five in 100 over the next three years.
The target is to be part of the Construction Industry Training Board's 2002-6 business plan. Its latest figures show that 11,400 manual workers in the industry – 1% – are female.

Wilson, announcing the target at the CITB's Women in Construction conference last week, urged the industry to change its image and stop cutting itself off from half the potential workforce.

He said: "With better organisation, an increased regard for health and safety and a proactive recruitment agenda, the industry can start to attract women into this workforce."

Only 1% of manual workers are female

The CITB plans to encourage more women into the industry through a local collaborative partnership that would bring female recruits together with employers.

The number of women in the industry overall has risen from 8.8% to 9.8% since 1999.