Nationwide, the construction industry employs 888,000 women—they make up 13.6 percent of construction workers. Women comprise less than 5 percent of trade occupation workers, and less than 10 percent of construction managers. It is a huge opportunity for women to find well-paying jobs with or without a degree!
By helping women who are interested in higher-paying, but also higher-risk and male-dominated fields, such as construction, we can help bridge the earnings gap. The National Association of Women in Construction reports that, on average, women in construction make 95.7 percent of what men make! An earnings gap exists because women tend to end up in lower-paying jobs, although equal pay for equal work is the law in the United States.
What Are the Unique Risks and Challenges Facing Women in Construction?
Certain health and safety issues, such as unhygienic conditions, disproportionately affect women in construction. In addition, most equipment and safety gear are designed for men’s bodies.
What Do I Need to Know About Safety on the Job?
United States Department of Labor has information about safety and training for women. https://www.osha.gov/doc/topics/women/other.html
How Can I Find What Fits Me As a Woman in Construction?
Ihireconstruction.com provides a list of manufacturers who make protective equipment especially for women, compiled by the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) and Ontario Women’s Directorate.
What about Harassment?
Sometimes women are harassed on the job. Bullying, sexual harassment, and even workplace violence has occurred.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Anti-Harassment Resources for apprenticeship sponsors registered with the federal Office of Apprenticeship
What Do I Need to Know My Rights As a Woman in Construction?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids employers from discriminating on the basis of sex.
What about Equal Pay?
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires equal pay for equal work, regardless of sex.
Where Can I find Groups and Resources for Women in Construction?
Groups such as National Association of Women in Construction, Chicago Women in Trades, and Oregon Tradeswomen are good resources for women in construction. They challenge the common depiction of construction as a “man’s job” by improving safety conditions for women, educating women about construction, and fighting against sexual harassment in construction workplaces. NAWIC has partnered with OSHA to create safer, more sanitary work environments on construction sites.
How Can I Be Trained in Construction?
Women in construction or interested in pursuing a career in construction can get more information and resources from the following websites: Scholarships and grants are available for women interested in construction careers.
What Do I Need to Know As an Employer?
- Good practice resources: National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment http://womensequitycenter.org/
- Women Construction Owners and Executives USA
- Tradeswoman Taskforce
Where Can I Find More Information?
- Construction PPE for the Female Workforce: Center for Construction Research and Training 2017 https://www.cpwr.com/research/r2p-p2r-work-reaching-vulnerable-workers/construction-ppe-forthe-female-workforce
And for Latinas?