It’s Women in Construction Week! Each year, I Build America Ohio takes the opportunity during Women in Construction Week to share the stories of the women across the state who make up our great industry. The stories of these women show the diverse backgrounds, interests, skills, and talents that are part of the work we do–and we encourage more women of all ages and interests to consider careers in construction.
Throughout the week, you will learn more about what it takes and what it means to be a woman in construction. Above all, you’ll understand the pride that comes with being a female in this work: it’s an opportunity to create a life of independence and career that makes a difference in our world.
We always appreciate awareness weeks like this because they help us all take a step back, analyze the current reality, determine what we can do better, and take action. Women in Construction Week has been doing just that since 1998. Led by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) with a mission to “raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry and emphasize the growing role of women in the industry,” the first full week of Women’s History Month is a time to inspire all genders to see women’s potential within the construction industry.
Though focused on females, this is an important week for the wellbeing of the industry as a whole because currently we are missing out on some incredible talent. Today, women make up just about 10% of the industry. With men making up 90% of the workforce, it’s no wonder construction is seen as a man’s business.
But, things are changing. Even though we still have a ways to go until there is equal representation, we are heading in the right direction. When NAWIC was founded, women made up just 1% of the construction workforce. If you are already working in the industry, whether as a business leader, educator or skilled tradesperson, you are well-equipped to help move that percentage even further. Let’s unite in the efforts this week.
Create a sense of community.
Community is critical when trying to inspire and encourage an underrepresented group of people. When women feel like outsiders in our male-populated industry, they won’t be encouraged to join us. It’s our job to make them feel welcome. When women know there are others just like them working in construction, they’ll see the potential within themselves.
- Put a female face to the positions by showing off your top women workers and sharing their success.
- Host networking nights to get to know your neighbors and discover hidden talent in your neighborhood.
Inspire all ages.
Increased representation will impact all women, from children dreaming of growing up to adults looking for a career change. In addition to catering to the community as a whole, target specific age groups.
- Set up speaking engagements for the local schools, from elementary to university.
- Act as mentors. Even if you are a man in the industry, you can make a change for the better. We’ll discuss more about the importance of mentors next week.
A career in construction is more than a one-size-fits all path or type of person. There are a range of careers available that support this industry. While construction trades are a key part of our industry, they aren’t the only route to entering the construction workforce. Women can help fill important roles in finance, law, and more once they know the jobs are there.
- Seek out opportunities to connect with female students and professionals. Find the best in these fields to help move the industry forward, whether that be project by project on the jobsite or for the greater industry as a whole.
- Advertise women’s earning potential. Women earn more equal pay in the construction industry.
Let’s kick off Women’s History Month by uniting in NAWIC’s mission for National Women in Construction Week and “Envision Equity” together. Collaborate with your team to create a sense of community, inspire all ages and promote opportunities. Then, tag @ibuildamerica_ohio on social media along with the women in construction who inspire you!