Women forge on

“Nothing on earth is designed for a particular gender or race, it all depends on someone’s mindset and attitude.”

These are the words of Phiwe Magodla, a businesswoman from Samora Machel, in Philippi.

Magodla,43, is the owner of Amandlovu Holdings Company, one of a handful of construction companies run by women. Her company is among several firms involved in building the Philippi Junction, a new shopping mall along Govan Mbeki Drive, in Philippi.

The 43 year old described working in the male dominated industry as challenging.

“Working with men only is always hectic. They undermine us. Our opinions are not taken seriously. You have to stand firm when you raise a point,” she said.

She added that resistance also came from her own employees.

Magodla, who is also a Project Steering Committee chairperson for the site, said as women they needed to be bold for the industry to recognise them.

“I am fortunate because I know what I’m doing. I have a National Technical Certificate in Engineering Studies,” she said.

She completed her studies at the College of Cape Town in 2005 after working at Murray & Roberts as an Assistant Quantity Surveyor in 2001. She continued working for the company until 2008. For three years between 2008 and 2011, she worked for Group 5 Construction as a site clerk. She was then promoted to Human Resources Officer on site. Between 2012 and 2014 she worked as an Administration Clerk at Silberbauer Construction.

“I know all the dynamics of the industry,” said Magodla.

Her company specialises in plastering.

She called for women empowerment to be prioritised in all sectors­.

“There are about six companies owned by women here. Two in bricklaying, plastering and another for paving and one in fencing. And I still believe that the number is too small. We need more women to be empowered in the industry. Our national constitution allows us to do whatever we want and no one must be limited,” said Magodla.

However, she described working in the construction industry as draining.

“You need to be hands on all the time because we are working according to production.

You need to monitor or find someone to supervise your job,” she said.