Spanish contractor Acciona has marked International Women’s Day by beginning work on the nursery building at Marga Marga hospital in Chile with an all-female team.
The Sala Cuna facility in the Villa Alemana district northwest of Santiago will be built by women skilled in welding, manoeuvring metal plates and form-setting columns. When complete in 12 months, the building will be 6m high with a surface area of 750 sq m. According to the Madrid-based company, it will be the first building in Chile to be completed “with gender policy in mind”.
At present, women make up only 22% of the Chilean construction industry.
The women were recruited from a class of 120 who graduated from courses run by Acciona over the past year, which taught them carpentry, masonry and ironwork skills. After they have completed the Sala Cuna, the team will move to work on the hospital’s accident and emergency department.
Women have also been appointed to a range of roles in the general works for the 75,000 sq m hospital, including site managers and supervisors, maintenance assistants, quality managers, BIM operatives and environmental managers.
Bonifacio Salvador, Acciona’s construction manager on the project, commented: “This initiative arose from the need to combat inequality and provide job opportunities for women workers in the Province of Marga Marga, and especially those who live in the area closest to the site.”
Katherine Galastica, the site manager for the scheme, added that the women “continue to be mothers and wives at all times. Their work is doubly exhausting and it is very admirable to see how they are able to divide their time and energies to successfully fulfil each role”.