From laborers to CEOs, women work construction, but this industry has always been dominated by men. Why is that, and does it need to be this way? According to statistics gathered by OSHA, the number of women employed by the construction industry has grown “by 81.3% from 1985 to 2007.” Once the recession hit, that growth stopped and we saw a sharp decline in female job procurement during the recession. We still haven’t gained all of those jobs back, but even though “only 9% of U.S. construction workers are women,” it is a huge industry and that means a lot of women find work in construction (OSHA).
So, more women are working in this industry these days, but if we assume that they account for around half of the employable population in the US, why don’t we see more females at the job site? An article byUSA Today said that at least part of the reason is due to a lack of recruitment effort focused at women, as well as male-dominated stereotypes about construction and a huge deterrent, sexual harassment at work sites. This is obviously a problem that has to be fixed and many people and organizations are taking on the task.
Nontraditional Employment for Women is an organization at the forefront of this movement and their website explains that NEW “prepares, trains, and places women in careers in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades, helping women achieve economic independence and a secure future.” Companies like NEW are a great resource, but we can all follow in their example and make our working environment a better place for anyone who’s passionate about construction.
The next time you’re on a job site, take a minute to acknowledge the diversity around you and encourage a positive working environment by speaking and acting with these things in mind. We will all benefit from a better working environment.
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