Tag Archive for: women in construction

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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Although it’s often viewed as a male-dominated industry, the number of women in construction continues to rise. This is due to the fact that the industry offers women a smaller gender pay gap and more opportunities for advancement

In honor of Women in Construction Week, we want to celebrate the achievements of women in the industry.

History of Women in Construction 

Women have played a key role in the growth and advancement of construction throughout history. In fact, without women, some of the most iconic bridges would not be built, such as the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge is a widely-known masterpiece of architecture. However, it would not be complete if it weren’t for Emily Warren Roebling. In 1870, Washington Roebling became bedridden and unable to oversee the continuation of the project. His wife stepped in to fill his position as chief engineer and worked on the bridge until its completion over a decade later.

With time, more and more women continued to play an important role in the industry and even became known as industry leaders. A great example of this is Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi-British architect, who became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Some of her work includes the Danjiang Bridge, the world’s largest asymmetric cable-stayed bridge with a single tower.

The Impact of Diversity

Despite the low numbers of women working in construction, a recent report reveals that gender-diverse companies are more likely to achieve above-average profitability. It also indicates that companies with at least 30% or more women executive-level positions had a 48% likelihood of outperforming other businesses.  

This means that diversifying your company can have some major advantages. Ensuring a diverse staff can not only help bring women into the industry but can also provide new viewpoints to projects. Schools and education programs can also help by highlighting the value of working in the construction industry.

With more companies chipping away at gender norms, the industry is taking larger steps than ever before at becoming a more diverse and inclusive space for future generations of women.

Women in Leadership Positions

The areas in which women are most underrepresented are in trade and executive positions. The lack of women in these positions makes the industry often appear intimidating. Because of this, many organizations are making efforts to promote more women into leadership positions.

Aside from education, many resources and organizations provide mentorships, marketing, and networking opportunities. Organizations such as the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) provide resources for women to help ensure business success.

There have also been efforts in educating women about the benefits of working in construction. Communities and construction companies have worked together to help bring awareness to the industry by offering boot camps and classes to interested women.

Recruiting Women into the Industry

So what can construction companies do to help women in the industry? Well, one aspect to consider is the way you recruit staff members.

Job Listings

Ensure that your job listings include gender-neutral terms so as to not unintentionally turn off potential candidates. In addition, make sure to highlight the company’s commitment to staff diversity and inclusion.

The Hiring Process

Including women in the hiring process for your company will not only encourage the women applying but also reaffirm your company’s commitment to diversity.

Internal Support

Consider partnering with organizations such as NAWIC and Women Construction Owners & Executives USA for mentorship and conference seminars. An apprenticeship program is another great way to attract women to trade work as well.

Working with U.S. Bridge

Here at U.S. Bridge, we are proud of the women who make up our team in all parts of our operations. It is their hard work and determination that help shape U.S. Bridge into the high-quality business we are known for.

If you would like to know more about our construction process or bridge design feel free to contact us. Also, check out our exclusive BridgeScope tool designed to provide a free quote in just five minutes!