Women in Construction Week 2021March 10, 2021
Sponsored by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Women in Construction Week (WIC) is an annual event used to raise awareness of women in the industry and celebrate their construction contributions1.
Founded in 1953, the NAWIC was established by 16 women in the industry who saw the need for a female-focused organization to support women in the male dominated field of construction2. NAWIC currently has 115 chapters across the nation and is accepts women in all positions within the industry under the core purpose to “Strengthen and amplify the success of women in the construction industry.2”
To encourage women to not only enter the industry, but to remain in construction Jessica Lombardo, the editor of Asphalt Contractor Magazine wrote and that construction leaders should take five steps at a minimum to support women in construction. Lombardo said leaders should advertise and uphold the benefits that come with construction careers such as paid time off and job security, change the perception that all construction jobs require heavy physical labor, provide necessary training for women entering the industry, advocate for women as allies and fellow female industry members, and support women as they seek to advance their career or climb the leadership ladder3.
“There's no denying that there is a lack of women in the construction trades and this should be seen as a huge problem,” wrote Lombardo. “With an industry struggling to fill a labor shortage and the inevitable transitions and changes technological advances will bring, it is time for the industry to focus on how to expand its female work force, and it's time for women to see the construction trades as a viable career path.3”
According to NAWIC, in 2018 women make up only 9% of the construction workforce despite women the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that women comprised between 56-57% of the workforce in that same year4, 5.
To celebrate WIC, construction companies and supporters around the nation hosted webinars, events, and contests to provide awareness of the potential opportunities for women in this industry and shine a light on the areas that could be improved upon to allow more women to take advantage of said opportunities. For instance, the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC), a national group that promotes free enterprise among the U.S.’s construction companies, hosted virtual talks titled “Demolishing the Construction Industry's Glass Ceiling” and “Championing Diversity to Drive Innovation & Culture” 6, 7. NAWIC advises individuals or companies that want to celebrate WIC and support women in construction to host their own events, display posters with WIC facts, post stories of women with careers in construction on social media, or develop a scholarship for women who are pursuing a construction education among other ideas8.
"When I first started years ago, I was questioned a lot and that was difficult, to be honest. I knew I could do it. But, it was just the questions I would get asked from other subcontractors or my peers - you know, asking questions that may not have been asked if I was a male in the industry," said Lynn Bolek, a project manager for a.j. Veneklasen Inc. "We have the dynamics. We have the ability, just like men. Maybe we're not as strong, but we are willing and we have strength internally.9”
For information on how to break into the construction industry as a women and available construction jobs, email Dr. Linda Martin, Capitol Tech's Chair of Safety, or view Capitol Tech's many degree programs that focus on safety, facilities, and construction at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
- National Association of Women in Construction. Women in Construction Week: March 7-13, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.nawic.org/nawic/wicweek.asp.
- National Association of Women in Construction. About NAWIC. Retrieved from https://www.nawic.org/nawic/About_NAWIC.asp.
- Lombardo, J. (2021, March 7). Take Time to Celebrate Women in Construction. Retrieved from https://www.forconstructionpros.com/asphalt/article/21307405/take-time-to-celebrate-women-in-construction#:~:text=The%20focus%20of%20WIC%20Week,of%20women%20in%20the%20industry.
- National Association of Women in Construction. Statistics of Women in Construction. Retrieved from https://www.nawic.org/nawic/statistics.asp.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021, February). Databases, Tables & Calculators by Subject. Retrieved from https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300002.
- Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. Mission Statement. Retrieved from https://www.abcwmc.org/.
- Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. Women in Construction Week. Retrieved from https://www.abcwmc.org/women-in-construction-week-2021.html.
- National Association of Women in Construction. Ideas & Things to Do for WIC Week. Retrieved from https://www.nawic.org/nawic/Activity_Ideas.asp.
- Cunningham, A. (2020, March 3). National Women In Construction Week highlights a changing industry. Retrieved from https://www.wzzm13.com/article/news/local/trade-up-west-michigan/women-in-construction-week/69-a0599114-b1ae-40c5-a978-c9d7d76aa83c.