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Empowering Women in the Construction Industry

The construction industry has long been synonymous with a male-dominated workforce, but times are slowly but surely changing. In recent years, there has been a measurable uptick in diversifying the industry and breaking through gendered walls. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’ll highlight how women are increasingly making their mark in the sector, disproving stereotypes and contributing their valuable skills to one of the most essential sectors in our society.

Women currently make up a meager 10% of the construction workforce in the United States. However, these numbers vary across states, with some regions showing more progress toward improving gender diversity in this industry than others. According to recent data, Washington D.C. has the largest percentage of its construction sector made up by women, with 17.6%, per the home improvement site Fixr. Arizona and Florida are not far behind with 15.6% and 14.5%, respectively. Still, there is work to be done in diversifying the types of work that women engage in. For example, in 2021, women made up only 8.6 percent of construction managers, per the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Furthermore, tradeswomen represent only 3.9 percent of those who work with the tools in this sector.

Various educational programs and outreach initiatives are being established to encourage young girls and women to consider careers in the construction trades. By breaking down stereotypes and showcasing the opportunities available, these programs aim to spark interest and provide the necessary skills for a successful career in the industry. Apprenticeship programs have also been essential in providing training and mentorship opportunities for women. These programs not only equip women with the skills they need but also help them build their professional network.

Additionally, various organizations, including the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and Women Construction Owners & Executives USA (WCOE), advocate for gender diversity in construction. They provide resources, support, and a platform for women to connect, and navigate the challenges they may face.

Construction companies, such as Skanska USA and the Bechtel Corporation are increasingly adopting inclusive hiring policies, ensuring that their recruitment processes are free from gender bias. Employers should continue to implement this approach in order to further diversify the sector.

While construction remains a male-dominated industry throughout the U.S., there are signs of positive change. States like California, Texas, New York, and Florida are setting an example for the rest of the nation by actively promoting gender diversity in the workforce. With ongoing efforts from educational institutions, industry organizations, and companies themselves, the future is as promising for women in this industry as ever. As these initiatives continue to gain momentum, we can expect further progress in breaking down barriers and reshaping the landscape of the construction workforce.

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