Although they only number eight percent of the construction workforce, women are making names for themselves and creating instrumental support systems for each other in the process. (And that eight percent? Mostly consists of office jobs, rather than on-site labor.) It’s a sisterhood, and these ladies are working hard to make improvements that will further engage their communities, encourage more women to take up careers in the construction industry, and empower them to make positive changes in their lives. After all, it’s 2018, and it’s about time the number of women in the construction workforce aligned with the times.
Sadly, this isn’t a problem solely in the United States. Australia and Japan’s percentages of women working in construction only come to 16% and 15%, respectively. There’s no shortage of jobs, but unfortunately, there’s no shortage of sexism, which is a reality for many women that choose this career path. As a result, women continue to work to overcome the “good old boys” club culture which has consumed the industry for decades.
“A lot of women just didn’t know it would be possible for them to pursue a career in [construction],” explains Mallory Herridge, the Program Director for the Texas State Technical College in Waco, Texas. But that’s changing – in the past five years, the program has seen female enrollment rise from zero percent to 3.5%. Initiatives like Build Like a Girl are engaging girls from a young age and encouraging them to consider construction as a viable career path.
That encouragement becomes even more powerful when these girls see for themselves that women can and do follow these careers. Having other women to look up to in the industry can make all the difference because it gives young women pursuing careers in construction not only a mentor but a mentor who looks like them. Danielle Dy Buncio, the CEO and president of VIATechnik, credits her mother’s career in construction as a significant influencer in her own interests. “I had a great role model, which…really helped me visualize that role.” It’s an affirmation and proof that their goals are genuinely possible when a younger girl has a powerful woman to emulate.
For any woman looking to make a career change, or always had an interest in construction but never knew how to pursue such a career, now’s the time. And here’s a number of groups who can help you achieve that goal. It’s still Women’s History Month until March 31st, so let’s get out there and make history.