Construction worksites conjure up images of burly men sweating behind the wheels of even burlier equipment and throwing crude catcalls at every woman who’s unfortunate enough to walk by. This is an industry that’s been steadily buried behind a wall of stereotypes since its inception—and women are finally breaking through.
Encouraging the Interests of Female Students
When a little girl is handed a doll in place of the toy crane she really wanted, she’s being conditioned. Her interests are being discouraged, and she’s being taught to censor her career choices according to gender stereotypes. The construction industry loses out on her talent, and she loses out on a rewarding career.
This is why it’s so important to encourage these interests as soon as they’re communicated. Educators, parents, and role-models all have an important part to play in overcoming stereotypes and making the construction industry more accessible to women.
Miron Construction is doing their part to introduce more women to the construction industry at and early age through their breakthrough “Build Like a Girl” program. This program is dedicated to introducing a younger generation of women to careers in construction; helping to fill ever-increasing gaps in the industry.
There’s no doubt that any woman working her way up in a male-dominated industry experiences her fair share of intimidation. The construction industry is primarily hands-on, and this means working shoulder to shoulder with a largely male crew. When a woman goes into project management, she’s competing with a stereotype. Every mistake or misstep can feel exaggerated, creating additional stress.
Fortunately, emerging technology and a growing climate of equality are making it easier for women to carve out a solid place in the construction industry. For decades, the industry was deprived of talent because of the sexist barriers, but now, women can finally bring their ideas to the table. In many ways, this is working to bring new life to an industry that was becoming stagnant.
Being male or female doesn’t matter much when there’s a demand for your skills, and you offer valuable insight into the project approach. Public schools are also taking a renewed interest in the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries, and shifting their curriculum from a more traditional direction. This means new opportunities for young female students to get in on the ground floor of industries that genuinely need them.
Women are the Future of the Construction Industry
There has been a large push from inside the construction industry to become more welcoming to a female labor pool, and McCarthy Building Companies is leading the movement with the McCarthy Partnership for Women. Their goal is to “recruit and retain top females” to the construction industry. They’re offering opportunities to younger women, and creating a culture that encourages a female presence instead of alienating it. The younger generations of women will be the key to the continued progress and growth within the construction industry. There’s still a long way to go, but we’ve made serious strides in the right direction.