National Women in Construction Week, (March 7-13) is, dedicated to recognizing women as invaluable contributors to the construction industry. The annual event, held by The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), also aims to raise awareness about the opportunities available for women in the construction industry, which, despite significant efforts toward diversification, is still dominated by men.
Currently, women only make up about 10.3 percent of payroll employees in New York City construction, according to a 2020 analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Data. And women who work in the industry are more inclined to work in an office setting rather than pursue roles related to finance, transportation, construction, extraction, and maintenance. The reality is that women are instrumental to the construction industry, and their role in the sector should – and must – go beyond an office setting.
The perception that the construction does not present opportunities for women is slowly changing, but that progress can be accelerated if more people – both women and men – are aware of the many benefits the industry has to offer. Here are some ways women can be encouraged to play a bigger role in the field:
Throughout the week, NAWIC will honor female construction workers who have made significant contributions to the industry. Women applying to construction jobs have unique and shared experiences. Hearing about their individual journeys may prove helpful to encourage other women to follow in their footsteps. Mentors can be a source of encouragement and inspiration for women who are struggling to find work in the industry and also to advance in it once they’ve got a foot in the door.
When applying for a job in the construction industry, the majority of women pigeonhole themselves by limiting their options to office work. But there are many jobsite opportunities that do not require brute strength to succeed. Applicants can broaden their reach by refining existing skills and knowledge related to physical construction, extraction, and maintenance to seek a position with greater career mobility. Being open to learning a new skillset might help you find opportunities you may never have before considered.
Although there are significantly fewer women working in the construction industry than men, femininity is not a weakness. Many qualities and skills that are typical associated with women – such as patience and intuition – are valuable assets to a career in construction. Embrace these qualities, regardless of your gender, as they may be advantageous to you when applying to jobs. It could put you a step above the competition.
This week, and every other week, the construction industry should strive to be a more inclusive, equitable and just environment. Overall, greater equality will improve workers’ lives and workplace efficiency.