This week is Women in Construction Week! In support of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) we are shedding additional light on the varied opportunities for women in construction.
As the current workforce knows, there’s plenty of room for new female skilled laborers. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 10,000 women in construction, making up less than 10% of the industry. The female demographic is largely underrepresented, which got us thinking: women are a critical part of the future of construction.
Construction has, historically, been a male-dominated industry, but it doesn’t have to be this way in the future. A career in construction offers men and women alike a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the community and their own livelihood, as well as perks like exceptional upward mobility and state-to-state portability.
As the demand for labor surpasses the supply, construction companies have begun expanding their recruitment efforts, including a formerly untapped labor source: women. We need to include women innovators who will advance not only their communities, but also the industry as a whole. We need their natural abilities and varying perspectives to improve our communities’ futures.
Though in the minority, hardworking women are paving the way to the future of construction. Organizations like Women of Asphalt (WOFA) have formed to lead and inspire women to join the industry. WOFA provides professional development opportunities, mentoring programs, and networking events to foster growth in the field. Then it’s up to leaders to back women’s representation with pay equity, recruitment, retention, and promotion.
We can fill this workforce gap, beginning with education. Starting at a young age, we must teach girls the thrill of stereotypically “boy” play, like playing with trucks, building blocks, and outside, as well as validate any natural passion for creating. As they grow, it’s important to challenge assumptions and stereotypes to encourage young girls to pursue non-traditional roles to reach their fullest potential.
Today, girls have access to successful women role models in construction. Organizations like the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) put this initiative at the forefront. Their purpose is to “enhance the success of women in the construction industry” by working against women’s self-doubt in ability, harassment on site, and blocks on career growth. With the support of one-on-one mentorship, they, and other organizations are diversifying the standard demographic by proving women can – and do – thrive in the construction industry. When women reach a hand back for younger generations, offering support and guidance, true industry change can occur.
Be a part of the movement and celebrate Women in Construction Week from March 3-8 and National Women’s History Month with us all month long. We want to honor all women in construction, including hopeful apprentices and those with years of experience. Tag us on Instagram (@ibuildamerica_ohio) or Facebook (@IBuildAmericaOHIO) with #womeninconstruction and share why working in construction is a woman’s job.