More women are working on construction sites than 40 years ago. However, they’re still drastically underrepresented in the workforce.
For National Women’s Month, we want to highlight the strides and successes women have had in the construction industry throughout history.
The Stereotype of the Construction Worker
Many associate the construction industry, specifically construction workers, with the image of men. Specifically, tough-looking men who spend long hours doing physically draining work. As such, a woman on a construction site was considered a rarity; add to that, the culture among job sites is deemed to be aggressive and, in some cases, discriminatory to other genders.
“When you are on a worksite, it’s especially tough if you are a woman,” said Lou Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers Association, in an article published in TheRealDeal. “I wouldn’t necessarily call construction workers the most sensitive people in the world. It’s a culture, and it takes time to change that culture.”
Even within our training facilities, we are seeing more female students attend our courses as both managers and supervisors along with workers.
Construction Work as ‘Man’s Work’
As with other male-dominated professions, that culture is being challenged, and more women are entering the workforce category, women still are underrepresented in construction. Women make up 2% or less of workers in construction, and on a corporate standpoint, they don’t have nearly as much representation in leadership roles.
To give perspective, out of the percentage of women who hold a position in the construction industry on a corporate level, 70% of those women are either in administrative positions or director/executive assistants’ positions.
From the earlier mentioned article, “eleven of the top 12 most active general contractors and construction management firms last year — accounting for both ground-up and interior renovation work — had management teams made up of more than 50% men”.
Current Strides: Women-Led Businesses, Companies, and Incentives
In the face of such numbers, women have been creating avocation support groups such as the Association of Women Construction Workers of America, Inc., who promote the advancement of women in construction and building programs to educate for a better-informed workforce.
Social groups on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube highlights real women on the job site with their experiences and voices on the forefront.
Even though the road to true gender quality still has a way to go, we hope to see more women in construction: whether it’s in offices, job sites, or even our classes.
After all, there’s more than one type of construction worker.