According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a mere 10% of construction professionals are women. The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) President Anne Pfleger puts it best by saying, “Construction is no longer a male-dominated industry, but a male-populated industry.” There are more opportunities than ever for women in the construction industry, but they are still greatly outnumbered by their male counterparts thanks to outdated ways of thinking and lack of awareness.
With such few women in the construction workforce, it’s clear that the implicit bias that construction is a made-for-men field still holds strong in our society. But it’s that out-of-date way of thinking that will prevent the industry from moving forward. We need women to help take our industry to the next level.
“Construction is such an established industry that it is necessary to constantly innovate, which I believe is best accomplished when supported by a diverse workforce,” said Rachel L. Mulholland, Senior Project Engineer, Shook Construction
As Mulholland says, the construction industry must be constantly innovating to stay on top of our communities’ growing needs. But too often, we get stuck in old ways of thinking, clinging to the past, rather than embracing new perspectives. By doing this, we are missing out on some incredible talent and fresh solutions from female workers.
“The best ideas come to the table when everyone has a seat at it” – said Mulholland.
But how can we ensure that women have a place at the table?
To avoid the inevitable groupthink that comes from an all-male team, the industry must commit to creating a more diverse workforce together. This will kickstart a powerful change for women on an individual basis as well as the overall success of our industry.
- A more diverse workforce will lead to more equal opportunities.
- More equal opportunities will create greater female representation.
- Female representation will put more women in leadership roles.
- More women leaders will reduce gender biases from those working at construction firms and those outside of the industry.
In the end, young girls will become aware of the potential opportunities available to them and the industry will see even more success.
“Building and renovating is such a great field to be in and – to be successful – already requires coordination amongst many people. I foresee the workforce requiring to increase to then lend itself to a more diverse workforce. And to that I say: the more the merrier!” said Mulholland.
We agree that when it comes to the construction industry, the more the merrier! We need women to fill vacant roles and bring creative problem solving to our teams. To encourage women to join the workforce, we invite you to join us in celebrating National Women in Construction Week March 6-12. This annual awareness week aims to inspire more women to join the industry through education and networking opportunities, including professional seminars and workshops.
As we gear up for National Women in Construction Week, consider what your construction firm, career technical center or community can do to encourage more women to join the industry. Together, we will create a more inclusive construction industry.
Photo credit: Robby Brown + Sundt Construction