This article explores the social partners' role in a gender quality agenda in construction at skilled operative level. It draws on a survey of the European construction social partners that investigated the presence of women in skilled trades and the policies, collective agreements and practices that play a role in women's integration. The responses indicate that the construction industry still displays inertia and conservatism, and that the social partners coroborate rather than counter this. They express a "discourse" of gender equality, but this does not automatically lead to equal opportunity policies or programmes. The social partners have a platform to make inroads and to change the industry from within, but need further encouragement to put this on their agenda.
European Journal of Industrial Relations, 2005, Vol 11, Issue 2, p. 151-179