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Dismantling Gender Stereotypes in the Construction Industry

Indira Tamang, 30, originally from Dolakha is on her way to graduate as a heavy equipment operator. She received a scholarship to be skilled at heavy equipment operation through Morang Earth Mover’s MAW Skills Academy, through support from UKaid सीप. Not long after her skilling started, she faced negative comments about the choice she has made. Her initial days was full of skepticism. But once she started getting used to the machine, her confidence has deepened. Now able to operate a machine, she is convinced that this rewarding job is equally viable for women to take on as it is for men.

Tamang has undergone a month-long skilling at an Operator Training Centre, supported by MEPL, housed within the Underprivileged Children Education Programmes (UCEP) office. Along with Tamang, 13 other women recently went through training at UCEP. “This is the first time MEPL has seen such interest from women,” says Sujan Neupane CEO of MAW Skills Academy. Enabled by a proactive and deliberative approach to challenging and changing gender stereotypes in the construction industry, MEPL, with technical advisory from सीप, has adopted several mutually reinforcing interventions to encourage and attract women, including a recently unveiled scholarship fund.

Elsewhere in Janakpur, Anjila Devi (middle front row, in the photo) has graduated, through scholarship as well. Anjila says, “it is rare for women from my community to take a step like this but if I am able to control a machine as heavy as a dozer, there’s nothing impossible for a woman to do.”

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Lashmita Rai, also on a scholarship skilling programme in Bhaktapur OTC, thinks it is better to take a bold a step and pursue a career that actually sells in the market rather than making a career that the society views as appropriate for women.

"Lack of access to quality, relevant and affordable education in construction sector in Nepal and lack of basic information and awareness about the benefits of the sector has kept women from entering this sector,” explains Prathistha Rai, Communications and Marketing Manager at MAW Academy. “We’re working to change perceptions and expand opportunities to level the playing field for all.”

Know a go-getter stereotype-breaking woman who might be interested in MAW Academy’s scholarship fund? Contact: Sujan Neupane, 9801902277,  or Birendra Nepali, 9802330053,