Since 1987, March has been proclaimed as Women’s History Month so it is only fitting for NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) to hold its annual WIC Week ™ or Women in Construction Week ™ this month. Happening next week, March 6 -12, this year’s theme, “Envision Equity,” is intended to highlight women as a viable component of the construction industry.
According to BigRentz from a January article, the needle has still not moved much regarding the number of women in construction jobs. They reported, “Of all the people working in construction, women comprise only 10.9%. Even smaller is the number of women on the front lines of a job site — only 1 for every 100 employees in the field. Considering that women make up 47% of all employed individuals, this means that the construction industry is only benefitting from about 1.25% of women in the workforce.”
As new construction industry jobs are expected to balloon by almost 2 million in 2022, companies are looking to recruit more women than ever before to bring their skill sets into the field. Currently, “Just under 87% of women working in construction hold office positions, and only about 2.5% of tradespeople are women. Women also only make up about 14% of staff executive and 7% of line executive positions.” Although still underrepresented, BigRentz suggests some recent progress noting “a substantial portion of women executives and construction managers entered into leadership roles in the last five years.” (SEE BELOW FOR MORE ON THE STATE OF WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY).
There is still much work to be done to increase recruitment and improve retention. The current shortage of labor in the industry presents an opportunity to hire even more women in construction jobs. Companies need to acknowledge and remove gender bias from their work culture, develop training programs and local mentorship groups specific to women’s needs, include more women in the hiring process and encourage women to become role models for other women.
Take the first step by getting involved with NAWIC’s Women in Construction Week™ happening next week.
Join NAWIC National for a virtual Kick-Off Happy Hour on March 4th @6PM CST featuring NAWIC President Doreen Bartoldus and others!
WIC Week™ provides an occasion for NAWIC’s thousands of members across the country to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry and to emphasize the growing role of women in the industry, as well as a time for local chapters to give back to their communities.
Here are some ways you can participate —
Plan a WIC Week Event – NAWIC chapters are not the only ones who can plan WIC Week events. You can hold a celebration lunch, a job site tour, or volunteer to talk to a local high school about how the construction industry needs women to fill the skilled
trades gap. Get creative and plan a fun and informative event of your own!
Join a local NAWIC chapter for one of their events – NAWIC has over 120 chapters across the country. Chances are there is a chapter near you with plans to celebrate WIC Week. Head over to the WIC Week page on nawic.org to find a calendar of events across the U.S. and online. Find a local chapter HERE.
Recognize the women at your company – Take a few minutes to recognize the hardships and victories of the women working at your company. Whether its through an email, a social media post, or just visiting them at their desk, take a moment to say you are proud of them for the hard work they put into the industry every day.
Learn about the importance of women joining the construction industry – From closing the skilled trades gap to bringing in new perspectives, there are a million positives to women joining the construction industry. Take a few minutes to learn about the pros of women joining the industry and how you can encourage other women to join and support those who are already in it.
Join NAWIC with a corporate membership – Companies can join NAWIC through corporate memberships, which gives a woman representative from their company all the benefits of a NAWIC membership, including professional and personal development, a support system, and more. Learn more about membership HERE.