When you think of the construction industry, one of the last things that may come to your mind is what kind of impact women are having on it. It’s ok to admit it, culturally it is thought of as a man dominated industry. In fact only about 2.6% of the construction industry is women. Although the number seems low, women have actually had a huge impact on the construction industry. There is even an association called the National Association of Women in Construction (which was founded in 1953) whose goal is to highlight women as a liable component in the construction industry. They also act as an internal group for women in the industry that need information, tips or support.
Remember what happened during WWII? All the men went off to war. But during wartime you need someone at home making the tanks, ammo, guns, planes, etc. And guess who was at home making them? The women! All the women that had been hired in the construction and other industries normally dominated by a male demographic came to be known as “Rosies”. Thus the iconic feminist symbol of “Rosie-the-Riveter” flexing her muscles and saying the famous “We can do it” line was born. This is really when the role of women in the construction industry got started. But this is 2014, and since that era the role of women have changed exponentially.
From running a turret lathe in a factory to being the CEO of major construction industries women have made amazing strides in their roles. It is a fact today that women have a liable place in the industry. But what are some of the most common problems that women have faced in being higher in construction?
- Women are sometimes not taken seriously because of invalid thoughts of inadequacy.
- Because of the male dominated demographic, some women have held back their knowledge.
- Moving from a completely different industry, some women have struggled with the construction environment.
Thankfully women have overcome these difficulties in their own ways, but some best practices for women to further their positions in the industry are:
- Have faith in yourself and your abilities and voice your opinion no matter what. Just because you are a woman in a male dominated industry it doesn’t mean you do not deserve the same respect and treatment.
- Accept what you know, and also what you don’t know. Every job or career comes with a learning curve. Accept that there are things you need to learn and take them to heart. Knowledge really is power.
- Be everywhere at once, when your needed. Don’t just polish your skills in the office. Get some outside time and in the field experience. The more you do and the more you learn from what you do just makes your inputs more and more valuable.
Let’s take a moment and realize what National Women in Construction industry week (March 2- 8) means. According to the NAWIC site, this week is about “highlighting women as a visible component in the construction industry.” Now what does this mean exactly? It means that women have a purpose being where they are. Someone goes to college and gets a degree in a certain field because they are not only interested in it, but may also have a passion for it. Whether it be man or woman the outcome is the same. At the end you have someone who is going to do their job in a professional and educated manner. So for all the women out there in the construction industry we say…”Thank You”