All Women Group Builds House In Kerala


In a small, tucked-away village in Kerala stands a 475 square feet house, which is known across the region not because of who owns it, but because of those who built it. And it’s not a building constructed by some famous architect but by a group of 20 daily-wage workers where all of them were women.

This 20-member all-women group, Nirmanashree Constructions, is challenging building-industry stereotypes and has broken the glass ceiling in a male-dominated sector by completing their first building at Elamdesham village here in Kerala’s Idukki district.

In a matter of less than two months, these women, most of who belong to the nearby Velliyamattom village, got trained to become qualified masons, good enough to take on their male counterparts. Not only did they complete the building as part of their training, they are already in final stages of talks for their next project.

Although women constitute half of the construction labour force in the country, they are relegated to menial work with skills like masonry, carpentry and others considered being men’s domain. Till as late as August this year, most of these 20 women were engaged either in household chores or worked as daily-wage labourers under the “right to work” programme of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).