Discussion: View Thread

  • 1.  Q1. Why are there few women in the various construction professions?

    Posted 08-08-2023 05:41 PM

    A1. Most frequent answer: "Men are overpowering and demeaning to women."

    Q2. Setting aside, momentarily, A1. above, what other reasons discourage more professional women in construction?

    <> What Percentage of Construction Workers Are Female?: 2022 Statistics

    In September 2022, approximately 7.7 million people were employed in the U.S. construction industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 14% of construction workers in October 2022 were female. Both the number of women working in the construction industry and the number of construction-related companies owned by women have increased since 2014, despite some disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    ·       Women in Construction Week – March 3-9, 2024

    ·    14 of the Best Resources for Women in Construction

    ·       Empowering Women in Construction with Safer, More Inclusive Workplaces 


    Cheers, Bill

    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880

  • 2.  RE: Q1. Why are there few women in the various construction professions?

    Posted 08-09-2023 10:14 AM

    Genuine question from a woman in industry: do we need it to be equal? 

    I'm all for women having the opportunity and being supported in their choices. On the other hand, I just don't foresee a lot of women wanting to do construction over other types of work even if given unhindered access. 

    I enjoy being a member of the AEC industry, but I wouldn't expect many of the amazing females in my life to want to do it. Some of them do, which is great, but I don't think there's a magic percentage of women we need. 

    On the flip side, I think men shouldn't be hindered from entering historically female sectors, but I don't think it's somehow wrong for a guy to prefer another profession over education or nursing, either. 

    I'm grateful that I feel encouraged and appreciated in my field. I don't feel held back or discouraged because of my gender by my colleagues or clients. I know that wasn't always the case for those that came before me in industry, and I'm grateful for how far we've come. 

    I want students to be exposed to a variety of fields and feel free to choose a career that interests them. Once they're there, I want them to be mentored and supported. But, I'm not going to be disappointed if we don't have equal representation as long as the reason given isn't "girls can't do that" or "boys can't do that"

    My fear is, depending on how we tackle this topic, we end up shaming women that choose a more "traditional" path. Or we unintentionally see women engineers or contractors as "women engineers" or "women contractors" instead of "engineers" or "contractors" that happen to be women. I don't want to be praised for being a woman engineer; I want to be recognized as a good engineer. When we overly emphasize gender in the industry, it can sometimes lead to the first option. 

    To briefly address your question as to why there may be few females in Construction: many Construction jobs are very physically demanding. Many of them require being out on a job site where the only toilet access is a portable toilet. Crane operators can't come down every time they need to use the restroom. You're often out in the elements year round. I'm not saying no women would want to work in those conditions, but I'm not surprised the number is lower than men. I'd venture to guess that there are more women in certain areas of the industry (design, management, etc.), but a majority of the industry is the laborers. I'm so grateful that they bring my designs to life, but I couldn't do what most of them do. 

    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK

  • 3.  RE: Q1. Why are there few women in the various construction professions?

    Posted 08-10-2023 10:05 AM

    Wonderfully said, Heidi. I agree completely.

    William McAnally Ph.D., P.E., D.CE, D.NE, F.ASCE
    Columbus MS

  • 4.  RE: Q1. Why are there few women in the various construction professions?

    Posted 08-10-2023 01:04 PM

    I also agree with Heidi.

    Everyone deserves equal access, opportunity, and welcoming to a field of work. That doesn't mean everyone needs to choose it. When the numbers are unequal, it is always worth asking why, but only to make sure the first statement above is being met. 

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer