Celebrating Women in Construction Week

This year, the week of March 3rd, The National Association of Women in Construction is celebrating “Women in Construction Week”, which recognizes the hardworking and underrepresented community of women working in construction. In recognition of this event, we are celebrating specific women in construction and highlighting the importance of including women in the industry’s workforce.

Women Thrive in the Construction Industry

Women have a history of thriving in industries that are “not traditionally” welcoming to women. During World War II, while men went overseas to fight, women stepped up to fill the jobs that men worked: factories, shipyards, transportation industries – you name it, women did it! After the war ended, women continued to explore these nontraditional paths for employment, and showed the world that there is no industry too hard or too “dirty” for a woman to excel in!
Despite the incredible capacity for women to contribute to construction, the industry is still overwhelmingly dominated by men; women hold only 10.9% of the construction jobs in the United States. Organizations like Non-traditional Employment for Women and the Tradeswomen Taskforce are working to change that.
Working in the construction industry has a myriad of benefits that women can and should take advantage of. For example, construction firms are celebrated for shrinking the gender pay gap for their employees; women earn 95.5% of what men earn in the construction industry, compared to the 82.9% national average. Women should be encouraged to join the construction industry workforce, not just for their own stability and benefits, but for the betterment of the industry overall.

Highlighting Women’s Contributions to Construction

What better way to celebrate Women in Construction week than to highlight the contributions and successes of women across the industry. Here are a few examples of women excelling in the construction industry and their incredible contributions:
Lillian Gilbreth was an award-winning designer who created many staples in household appliances that are still in use today, including refrigerator shelving and adding a foot pedal to the kitchen trash. She also pioneered specific kitchen designs for individuals with disabilities.
Lorraine Grillo was the president and CEO of the New York City School Construction Authority, where she oversaw the design and construction of public school buildings in New York City. Most recently, Grillo served under Mayor Eric Adams as the First Deputy Mayor. To summarize her career and qualifications, Grillo once said “I build things; that’s what I do.”
In 1872, Emily Roebling  took over her husband’s position as the chief engineer, overseeing the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Despite her husband retaining the formal title, Emily’s contributions to the project were made public and enabled her to break the glass ceiling for women in trade work
Women have made momentous strides in obtaining equal representation in the construction industry. We celebrate the contributions of talented women in construction everywhere and encourage more women to learn more about working in the industry.

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