Today is an important day around the world: It’s International Women’s Day! In some countries, it is a National Holiday and the goal is to reflect and pay homage to the contributions of women around the world. This week also marks “Women in Construction Week 2018” (March 5 – 11). Construction Dive interviewed several women leaders who are helping shape the future of the construction industry. These women — and many others — are taking active steps to include a variety of thoughts and experiences that can help propel the industry forward.
According to OSHA, the number of women employed in the U.S. construction industry grew substantially, by 81.3% from 1985 to 2007; however, due to a loss of over 2.5 million construction jobs from 2007 to 2010, there has been a sharp decline of women working. Women currently make up only 9% of the construction industry’s workforce, and their lack of representation has contributed to the demographic’s struggle to both recruit and retain female workers, and to advocate for change on women-specific workplace concerns. While women still face an uphill battle when it comes to advancement in the construction industry, women in the field are progressing and finding ways to support each other through mentorship and advocacy.
Organizations such as Women Construction Owners & Executives USA (WCOE) are also committed to making a positive difference for women in the construction industry so there will come a time when gender will cease to be a business issue. WCOE began in 1984 with 69 charter members, tripled in 2011 and is now recognized as the voice of women-owned construction companies. They just concluded their 2018 Women Build America Conference this week in Washington, D.C.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently renewed their commitment to safe workplaces and created a dedicated page on their website to address the needs of women construction workers.