Construction Best Practices

Who Runs the World? Women in Construction

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We’re showcasing the movement that is changing the face of construction—and the organizations behind it.

Fact: Women account for only 10% of the construction industry.

Fact: Mentoring, educating and honoring women in the industry can help close that serious gap.

There is definitely momentum to support and hire women in construction, but many are still looking for ways to move the needle a bit faster.

How do we solve the misrepresentation and stereotypes that hold women back? The answer: By sharing the inspirational stories of those women who have made great strides in the industry, along with highlighting programs geared towards women who want to advance in construction.

Many in the industry are doing just that!

Women Who Shine

Kathy Wells, Editor for Construction Business Owner Magazine, is a strong force behind the movement.

“Demographics don’t lie—women make up the minority of the construction workforce. But, it’s important to recognize that the hardworking women who comprise that minority have shone for decades and are only gaining more wattage," said Wells.

Construction Business Owner magazine has taken charge and nominated 20 finalists for the Outstanding Women in Construction awards—proudly recognizing industry-leading females, their abilities and accomplishments.

Construction Business Owner Magazine received nearly 200 exceptional nominations!

“Credit is due in large part to the many thoughtful nominators (mostly colleagues and coworkers, although we had a couple of spouses, too), who took the time to give such considerate recognition to the amazing nominees,” said Wells.

“The finalist will be recognized in CBO’s November 2019 print edition and online and will also receive prizes from participating OWIC sponsors, including a WD-40 Prize Pack and Keen Utility Boots from a new line of specially designed work boots for women."

Let’s give it up for all the nominees and woman in the industry who back the movement!

       

Education is Key

While recognizing the women who are already doing great things in the industry will absolutely inspire others, we also need to think about helping those who may be experiencing roadblocks. 

During the Women in Construction session at Collaborate 2019, Viewpoint answered many questions and provided insight with one goal in mind: helping construction organizations recruit and empower women in the industry. The session was led by Betsie Hoyt, Viewpoint senior product manager; Patsy Dunn, CFO of Grow Construction; Angie Simon, president of Western Allied Mechanical; and Laurie Kendall, president of ABC Pacific Northwest Chapter. Here are a few highlights from that impactful session:

1. Find Support

“For every hater, there’s a supporter, you just have to find them,” said Dunn. “You may have a board member who thinks you don’t know what you’re doing, but you probably have one who thinks that you do. Find that person. Seek out the supporters, and hold on to the people who believe in you.”

2. Apply for Management Roles

Women in management roles leads to a more balanced construction organization. Women should be encouraged to apply for upper level roles, network and don't stop applying until that position is yours! 

3. Build a Community

Finding women in similar roles helps establish a support system and someone to talk to for advice and growth opportunities. Networking with like minded individuals can open many doors including careers paths. 

4. Find Encouragement

To help build inspiration, read articles about women in construction and learn more about the movement taking place. Viewpoint has several blog articles and podcasts that can help. There is a lot of information that can be very encouraging. 

Move Forward with Mentoring

Luckily, many organizations have established themselves as mentors to young women in construction—helping them not only see the potential in construction jobs, but also offer tips to get through common stigmas that exist in the industry. 

For example, Massachusetts has an exceptional goal in mind: to have women make up 20 percent of its construction workforce by 2020. In order to reach this goal, Massachusetts Girls in Trades has been established to mentor female students in middle school and high school about construction and get them to consider construction as a career path.

A Michigan organization called Women in Skilled Trades focuses on helping women enter the construction industry by providing training in tasks like stenciling cement, wiring outlets and framing walls. Also, Chicago Women in Trades provides training, resources and mentorship opportunities for women in Illinois interested in becoming bricklayers, carpenters, electricians and other skilled workers.

Contact these organizations and see how your construction company can empower women.

      

Time to Bridge the Gap

The old saying goes: "there ain't no time like the present." Stereoytpes from the past still exist while new opportunities to diversity are not yet considered a norm in construction. Many construction organizations are trying to emphasize equality, while others are not sure how or may not recognize the gender gap as problematic. Well, the time to move forward and join the movement to hire women in construction is now. 

Start your own organizational movement by getting educated. Listen to our podcast about Women in Construction

Don't forget! Find out who the  Outstanding Women in Construction is when CBO announces its winner next month.