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.
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.
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!