Each year the first full week in March is dedicated to highlighting all the great work women do in construction. An important part of Women in Construction Week is coming up with ways to celebrate women in construction.
Construction isn’t an easy industry for women to enter, much less succeed in. While women make up 47% of the country’s total workforce, only 10.9% work in the construction industry, according to the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). In a field where males are dominant, there are challenges. For example, sexual harassment can be a real issue. According to a survey by Engineering News-Record, 66% of respondents reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment while working in construction and 60% reported witnessing it. So, when women not only choose to enter the field but also stick to it and excel, they should be celebrated.
Seven Ways to Celebrate Women in Construction
Women in Construction USA shares several ideas on just how to celebrate women construction jobs and promote why we need women in construction.
- Highlight your female construction workers through company channels. Use a public forum to show the world how great your female workers are. Write up a profile on one, two or all of them and post on your website. Include the profile in the company newsletter and share it on your social media channels.
- Volunteer at local schools to encourage more girls to consider working in construction. There are fewer and fewer young people going into construction. Surveys have found that 63% of young adults wouldn’t consider a career in construction, citing the work is difficult and they want a less physically demanding job. But the industry needs workers more than ever and women can fill that role. As part of volunteering, take part in career fairs and encourage young women to get into the industry.
- Give a workshop teaching young women some practical industry skills. The construction industry offers more opportunities than just physically demanding roles. And while these are available to women there are also managerial roles like project managers, crew foremen, safety managers and more. Offer young women a glimpse of the breadth of available roles and what they need to do to fill them.
- Give a tour of your organization to showcase your women construction jobs. Seeing women construction jobs first-hand is a great way to celebrate women in construction and encourage others to follow suit. Hold tours of your business and invite female job seekers to attend. Make the tours part of your regular Women in Construction (WIC) week events and consider offering them throughout the year.
- Give a toolbox talk and include information about WIC week. A toolbox talk is an informal group discussion that typically focuses on a specific safety issue. While they are generally more for safety maintenance and specifics rather than a high-level overview, toolbox talks that are held monthly, weekly or even daily are an opportunity to raise some awareness. They can offer a great opportunity to educate your employees about WIC and be an avenue for change.
- Target your recruitment efforts towards women. Remove all language that could lead to hiring a candidate based on their gender. Write job descriptions that don’t use gender-biased language like guys, he or she. Use gender-neutral language like “the candidate” or “the applicant.” Job description writers should also be aware of masculine skewed language, like ambition, driven and competitive, and feminine skewed language, like thoughtful, flexible and trustworthy and try to eliminate or reduce their use.
- Encourage your female construction workers to attend a professional networking and empowerment event. Support your female workers and celebrate women in construction by encouraging them to network or form their own professional group. The National Association of Women in Construction is a great place to start. You can sponsor memberships for your female workers and find events and other opportunities in your area. (Find events here: Women in Construction Week events.)
Celebrating women in construction is a great first step towards encouraging others to join the industry. The construction industry is facing demand that it can’t meet without more workers, Women can help fill that gap, and they can make your workforce stronger and more diverse. And, that’s worth celebrating.