March is Women’s History Month: a time to appreciate the triumphs of the women who paved the way to where we are today—and those charting the course to a brighter future tomorrow. Throughout the month there are celebrations meant to call attention to the march toward gender equality, including this years’ Women in Construction Week (March 6-12, 2022).
Women in Construction Week is an especially important part of Women’s History Month because it shines a light on the changing norms of a traditionally male-dominated industry. While women remain a minority, there’s a definitive shift toward inclusion and equality happening. It’s an exciting time to be a woman in construction!
The History of Women in Construction
Women have left their mark on the construction industry for more than a century. In fact, some of the most iconic developments in the United States owe their fruition to women in some capacity. Some of the most prominent names in the industry include:
- Emily Roebling was responsible for the Brooklyn Bridge.
- Edith Clarke changed the way we approach electric utility infrastructure.
- Elsie Eaves helped shape the civil infrastructure of our nation.
- Kim Roy is one of the leading construction executives today.
These women and countless others changed (and continue to change) the trajectory of the construction industry. From civil engineering and infrastructure to public works and sustainable development, the contributions of women in construction are invaluable—both for the industry and for other women in it.
Today, women represent 1 in 10 construction workers—a figure that’s growing every year. Women are also becoming voices for change in construction, delivering a message of equality from the highest positions. Women account for roughly 14% of construction executives and 7% of line executive positions. Even more exciting, about 13% of construction companies today are women-owned.
How the Industry is Working to Encourage Gender Diversity
There are numerous organizations and groups dedicated to enabling women in construction. Chief among them is the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).
The NAWIC has more than 115 chapters across the country, devoted to providing women resources, training, education, and access to careers that help them succeed. They’re also active in helping young women get an early start in AEC and STEM fields, paving the way for a well-educated, highly motivated female workforce of the future.
Professional Women in Construction (PWC) is another organization that’s working diligently to help women succeed. The organization’s mission is to “promote diversity within the architecture, engineering, construction, (AEC) and related industries.” PWC doesn’t just advocate on behalf of women—the organization’s membership extends to men and women, public and private companies, and other organizations big and small, in order to foster fundamental change.
Through the efforts of organizations like NAWIC and PWC (and dozens of others), women aren’t only getting the representation they deserve in the construction industry. They’re also benefitting from a narrowing pay gap (women in construction earn 99.1% compared to men) and opportunities to advance higher, to affect real change from the top, down.
Women are Helping to Build the Future
We invite you to join us in celebrating Women in Construction week 2022. If you’re not already, become a member of a group like NAWIC or PWC. Or, learn more about female-led initiatives in a professional organization you’re already part of. An even simpler way to participate? Take a moment to recognize and appreciate the contributions of a female member of your team.
Here on our own team, we want to take this opportunity to recognize our very own Keilah Casillas. Keilah joined the Sandbox team in 2021 as a project manager and has already made significant contributions to the projects she oversees.
She has degrees in both Green Business and Urban Planning, as well as 18 years of industry experience.
Today and every day, we are honored to work alongside so many talented, driven women who are making an impact in our industry.
As they accept positions in construction, it’s looking brighter and brighter for women who want to roll up their sleeves and get to work building the future. At Sandbox Development, we couldn’t be prouder of the women on our team and their contributions to the development we undertake.