Keys to the Future: Women in Construction

As we embark on the 26th annual Women in Construction Week, it’s essential to reflect on the enduring and evolving role of women in this vital industry. From March 3rd to March 9th, The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) spotlights the theme “Keys to the Future,” a fitting homage to the collective strength, wisdom, and vision of women who are not only part of the construction landscape but are actively redefining it.

History of Women in Construction

Looking back, the roots of female involvement in construction run deep, with records tracing back to the 13th century. Women, regardless of social standing, lent their hands to various tasks, from carrying water to mastering family trades. Fast forward to the 18th and 19th centuries, where pioneers like Sarah Guppy defied gender norms, patenting bridge designs and laying the groundwork for future generations of women in construction.

World War II proved a turning point, thrusting women into the forefront of construction as they stepped in to fill roles left vacant by men serving in the war. Yet, despite their invaluable contributions, progress post-war saw a decline in female representation. However, the tide is turning, with the numbers steadily climbing as more women find their footing in this dynamic industry.

Why Women in Construction Matters

Having women in construction can present many benefits, one of the most important being new ideas. Welcoming different perspectives is vital to the progression and growth of the industry as a whole. Studies show that women’s brains are wired for combining analytical and intuitive thinking, meaning that by adding female representation, the construction industry has a new opportunity to grow and evolve.

Women also, on average, demonstrate strong leadership skills. Studies explain how female leaders assist in enhancing productivity, collaboration, and organizational dedication. Oftentimes, women are drawn to places and organizations where they see women are empowered and appreciated, so by valuing the women already in construction, the industry as a whole is creating more areas of growth. 

Paving the Way for Inclusivity in Construction

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 1 out of every 10 construction workers in 2020 was a woman. In order to increase female representation in construction, the industry as a whole as well as individual companies need to create an environment that is inviting and motivates women to stay in the field. Here are a few ways in which construction can be more inclusive for women.

1. Broadening Recruitment Horizons: Historically, construction has been a male-dominated field. Emphasizing the recruitment of women is one way that construction companies can show women that they are both wanted and needed in this field.

2. Cultivating a Positive Site Culture: The heart of inclusivity lies in the culture of a worksite. It’s crucial to foster an atmosphere where safety, respect, and equal opportunity are paramount. Women who find themselves in supportive, well-structured environments are more likely to pursue long-term careers in construction.

3. Bridging the Pay Gap: While the pay disparity in construction is narrower than the national average, any gap is significant. It’s imperative to strive for pay equity, ensuring that women receive fair compensation commensurate with their skills and contributions.

4. Women’s Fit PPE: As addressed in our previous blog post about women’s PPE, providing PPE catered specifically towards women is not only equitable, but it is vital to increasing their safety. From women’s cut high-visibility work wear to safety glasses developed to fit slimmer faces and accommodate to smaller facial features, we offer products designed to keep women safe and comfortable so that they can perform at their peak while at work. Click here to view our whole line of women’s fit PPE.

Women have paved the way for so many advancements in the construction industry. Their contributions have not only enriched the field with diverse perspectives and innovative ideas, but also challenged the status quo, inspiring a new generation of women to break barriers and make their mark in this dynamic industry. Their relentless pursuit of excellence, equality, and recognition continues to transform the landscape of construction, making it more inclusive and resilient. As we celebrate Women in Construction Week, we honor these trailblazers and look forward to a future where every woman in construction is empowered to achieve her full potential.

Keys to the Future: Women in Construction

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