Women in Construction: Breaking down barriers.
The word ‘skilled’ doesn’t discriminate and neither do we. We used to live in a world where a woman’s choice of profession consisted of homemaker, teacher, nurse or secretary and men could be, well, everything else. Luckily, that world is in the past. Today, women don’t just hold roles in every industry, they dominate them. Companies have come to value the skills women bring to the table as they sit as equals beside their male counterparts. The construction industry is no stranger to appreciating the role of minorities in the success of their business, and it demands hardworking women with a drive to break the mold.
Last year 939,000 women worked alongside their equally capable, talented, and hardworking male counterparts to imagine, plan, and construct the urban landscapes we love. However, this is still only 8.9% of the total workers in construction careers. The traditional association of men to hard hats is engrained in our culture from the moment we start playing with either Legos or dolls. Any career path in construction requires a creative mind, a motivated attitude, ability to problem solve, and a desire to work hands-on among a diverse group of professionals. These attributes do not know gender. They can inhabit any individual who may have a passion for building something bigger than themselves.
Fortunately, the construction industry’s desire to hire women is reflected in their impact on the wage gap. Women in construction make about $0.93 per $1 that men earn, versus the national average of $0.82 per $1. This gap is closing further as women become increasingly skilled in their trades and prominent figures in the industry. There are also vast possibilities of advancing into leadership type roles where women have already proven themselves formidable opponents to the outdated stereotypes of the industry. In 2010, more than 1/3 of the construction positions held by women were managerial or professional. Over the years, more women have forged their own path to success by cutting the red ribbon on their own firms, but there is still more work to be done to ensure equality in the relationship between government funding and minority/women owned companies. Although there is legislation to close this gap, they still fall short on meeting contract quotas for minorities and women. However, cities like Orlando, FL have goals of 6% or more to specifically allot business to WBE’s, Women Based Enterprises.
Despite the current deficit in the influence of women in the construction industry, changes are being made to allow motivated and hardworking women to enter a successful career in the field. The D.E. Scorpio Corporation has always and will continue to recruit and promote women into this field. Our commitment to minority and women owned business is reflected in all our partnerships, and is one we take very seriously because it is the right thing to do.
As we close out Careers in Construction Month we are proud of the initiatives we implemented and the steps we took to further the message. We know they were small first steps, but we also know they may have played a big role in someone’s life. We will continue to promote this great industry to future generations, and especially to those who are working to break down barriers.