Supporting Women in Construction
This week, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) celebrates Women in Construction (WIC) Week as part of its mission to strengthen and amplify the success of women in the construction industry. WIC Week provides an occasion for all of us to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in construction and to emphasize the growing role of women in the industry.
While the presence of women in construction is growing, females are still significantly underrepresented in the field. Though women comprise around 47% of the total U.S. labor force, only 9.9 percent of the construction workforce is female.
In the past, we have highlighted some inspiring women in construction from the EBA family, and we continue to celebrate their many contributions this week. In this WIC Week blog, we turn our focus to supporting opportunities for all women in the industry by highlighting some excellent resources for women in construction.
Industry support for women in construction
A number of well-established professional organizations and conferences are focused on advancing the role of women in construction, including:
- NAWIC has been one of the most influential and most extensive resources for women in construction for more than 60 years. With chapters across the country, NAWIC provides its members with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, leadership training, public service, and more. NAWIC also provides a list of excellent education resources for women seeking to advance their career in construction, including scholarships and training programs.
- Professional Women in Construction (PWC). PWC’s mission is to support, advance, and connect women and promote diversity within the architecture, engineering, construction, and related industries. It has chapters in major metro areas throughout the Eastern U.S. and is one of the most far-reaching resources for women in construction.
- Women in Construction Summit. This annual summit in London is focused on challenging the gender status quo in construction. It offers a wide range of career and personal development workshops, enlightening discussions, presentations, and networking opportunities.
- Women in Construction Operations (WiOPS). Based in California, this group is focused on mentoring women working in the operations side of construction. They offer various resources for women in construction, including a guide to mentoring.
- Women Construction Owners & Executives USA (WCOE). WCOE provides a network of executive women in the construction industry for mentorship, peer-to-peer assistance, information, and support. Their goal is to help their members’ businesses grow and prosper and to create a level playing field for women-owned firms in the construction industry.
- Groundbreaking Women in Construction (GWIC). Hosted by Engineering News-Record, the GWIC conference in San Francisco is focused on critical workplace topics, such as bridging pay gaps and management training. It is billed as “a catalyst for change to inspire women at all levels to develop their leadership skills, expand their influence, and boost industry growth potential.”
Resources for getting a first job in construction
Consider applying to EBA Engineering’s construction management inspection (CMI) trainee program! Our unique, one-year training program was designed to help EBA’s engineering technicians learn the ins and outs of construction inspection, construction safety, surveying, materials testing, and more. EBA’s CMI trainees receive a combination of classroom certification courses, laboratory training on testing procedures, online video training, and on-the-job hands-on experience.
PWC maintains a list of current job postings in construction. However, to get some résumé-worthy experience before applying for your first entry-level position, you might consider an internship. Networking is also key to landing your first job in construction, and the organizations/conferences listed above are excellent opportunities to get involved and meet other women in construction.
Activities for inspiring the next generation of women in construction
It’s never too early to inspire the next generation of women in construction! We suggest some resources for youth and teens below.
- NAWIC chapters across the U.S. host summer camps to inspire teens and tweens to explore construction careers.
- Mentoring a Girl in Construction (MAGIC) camp is a free, one-week day camp designed to introduce high school girls to exciting careers in construction.
- Tools and Tiaras is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing the interest of young girls and women who want to pursue a career in the construction industry.
- The ACE Mentor Program seeks to engage, excite, and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, and construction through mentoring and to support their continued advancement in the industry.
We still have a lot of work to do to fully include women in the construction industry. In spite of the obstacles, women continue to make important contributions and are helping to solve the industry’s labor shortage. Schools and companies must continue to highlight the value of construction jobs for women and young girls so that they can see the industry as an excellent career option.