SHE Matters

S.H.E. Matters: Breaking Down the Boys’ Club That is Construction

As the construction industry continues to be one of the most male-dominated fields in America, it is becoming increasingly important to address issues of gender inequality and promote diversity within this field.

Despite efforts over the years, women still make up a small percentage of workers in construction and face a considerable wage gap compared to their male counterparts.

Let’s take a closer look behind the construction curtain:

Constructing a Gap in the Industry

The construction industry is a male-dominated field, with women making up only a small percentage of the workforce. In fact, as reported by the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER), “nearly 90% of the industry is male.”

This gender gap has been present for decades and reflects the larger societal issue concerning workplace equality. Stereotypes and entrenched biases have contributed to this wage gap by discouraging women from entering the field due to their perceived inability or lack of capability.

Specifically, the construction industry is disproportionately male-dominated due to longstanding societal and cultural norms that have seen women traditionally viewed as unsuited for manual labor. This has created a lack of diversity in the workforce, with men making up the majority in most construction sites; women who are in construction are more likely to be behind a desk.

Additionally, other factors like lower pay, fewer opportunities to advance within the field, and lack of support networks are often cited as reasons why more women do not pursue a career in this industry.

Wait — Wages Matter, Too

As a result of all of the aforementioned, there are limited opportunities for growth or career advancement for women within construction. Moreover, an imbalance in wages between men and women has remained pervasive in the overall industry.

For example, according to the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), women earn just 74 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts in the construction field at large. With regard to managerial roles in specific, women make approximately 86 cents for every dollar earned by a male colleague.

This wage gap is not only alarming but is also reflective of the larger societal issue concerning workplace equality in the United States.

Closing the Construction Gap

In order to create an environment where workplace equality and equitable distribution of resources between genders is possible, there need to be initiatives that focus on promoting diversity in the industry by encouraging more women to enter or continue working in construction fields.

Some actions leaders might take could include…

  • Providing more leadership roles for women
  • Creating mentoring programs
  • Implementing policies that favor equitable wages
  • Establishing guidelines against sexual harassment or discrimination
  • Offering educational support like specialized courses or training sessions targeted towards female workers
  • And more

Together, these steps can help create a more diverse and inclusive workplace that ultimately benefits everyone involved regardless of gender identity or background.

But what do you think? Are you in construction, or do you know someone who is and deserves a moment in the spotlight? Because we’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to us or visit our S.H.E. Matters page to send in a submission for our review, and stay tuned here for more information!