The number of women working on the construction of the Arena de Sao Paulo is on the rise. Of the more than 100 apprentices who have undergone construction-skills training at the stadium, 20 have been women. To date, seven have completed their courses, with another 13 still in training.

Among the group is 22-year-old Talita Ferreira da Silva. A resident of the Guaianases district in the eastern suburbs of Sao Paulo, some 30 minutes from the stadium, Talita is undergoing her training in carpentry. “As a profession, it’s something different, which is why I decided to do this course. Some people joke that it’s not a profession for a woman, but that doesn’t bother me,” Talita said.

The former saleswoman was unemployed when she learned about of the construction-training programme. Seeing it as a new opportunity, she decided to take her chances in a traditionally male-dominated profession. “It is possible to compete with the men. During the practical studies, we see that this can be done. Women are capable of taking part. In our group, we have young people as well as older ones,” added Talita.

The trainee is part of a group of five women in her discipline. Another five are undergoing a brick- and block-work laying course. Elsewhere on the site, two other women are doing steel-fixing apprenticeships and one is training to be a production assistant – a course already completed by seven other women.

With the courses scheduled to finish in late December or early 2012, these future construction professionals will have a fresh opportunity to enter the job market and could even form part of the stadium’s full-time work force.