Breaking barriers, building safety: Advancing women’s roles in the construction industry

Construction is very clearly among the many traditionally male-dominated industries. However, the construction industry has made strides in recent years toward inclusion.

There are still significant improvements to be made, but the first step is to advance gender equality and empower women to take on more prominent roles. 

Women have long been shattering stereotypes and entering roles in fields that were historically only held by men. As the world recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusivity in every sector, it’s crucial to acknowledge the progress women have made in construction and address the challenges they still face.

Construction industry barriers

Women made up 10.9% of the US construction workforce as of 2022. This is still a small percentage, but it is a step in the right direction. With changing attitudes and a push for gender equality, women have entered various trades, including carpentry, engineering, architecture, and project management. Their presence is transforming the industry, bringing fresh perspectives, creativity, and problem-solving skills to construction projects.

Despite this progress, women in construction continue to encounter obstacles. Gender biases and stereotypes persist, leading to unequal opportunities and limited career advancement. The physical demands of some roles and the prevailing masculine-oriented culture can create additional challenges for women.

Addressing these issues is vital to building a more inclusive and diverse construction sector. Florida Engineering take this kind of opportunities to give diverse stand. Creating better workforce on the masses.

Physical safety

Women in trade industries have lobbied for safer, more equal workplace environments. One of the crucial aspects of advancing their roles in construction is ensuring their safety and well-being on job sites. Construction can be a high-risk profession, and it’s crucial to provide proper safety measures and training to protect all workers, regardless of gender.

That being said, there is a need for continued efforts to maintain safety for women in the construction industry. Inadequate training is one of the top reasons for work-related accidents. If women aren’t taken seriously in construction, their trainers may not equip them with the proper knowledge to avoid these mishaps.

Luckily, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has regulations in place that include inspections, citations, and training. Federal protections for high-risk workers also play a vital role in upholding safety standards. There are legal frameworks and regulations that safeguard workers, including women, in high-risk jobs, preventing workplace injury and fatalities. These audits of construction sites can play a huge role in ensuring women’s safety in the industry.

Discrimination and harassment

Despite the progress made in breaking gender barriers, many women still endure unwarranted behavior that creates hostile work environments. Harassment takes various forms, including verbal abuse, offensive jokes, derogatory comments, and belittling remarks. Such conduct not only demeans and undermines the confidence of women in the industry but also hinders their professional growth and contributes to a sense of isolation.

The culture of male dominance in construction, coupled with deeply ingrained stereotypes, often perpetuates this harassment. Women may be seen as less capable, weaker, or out of place on construction sites, leading to biased treatment and exclusion. 

The lack of representation of women in decision-making roles further exacerbates the issue, as there may be inadequate policies or enforcement mechanisms to protect women from harassment. The fear of retaliation or being branded as difficult also prevents many women from reporting incidents, perpetuating a cycle of silence that perpetuates this type of behavior. It is crucial for the construction sector to confront this issue head-on, fostering a culture of respect, equality, and accountability to ensure that all workers, regardless of gender, can thrive in a safe and supportive work environment.

Gender pay gaps

While there is still a gender pay gap, women earn approximately 95.5% of men’s salaries in construction. This is significantly better than the national average of 82.9%, but it still isn’t completely equal. For women to want to advance their careers in construction, they should be seeing equal pay for the same jobs that their male counterparts currently hold.

Networking and marketing

Self-marketing is an indispensable tool for women in the construction industry to build successful careers and businesses for themselves. As women may still face gender-related barriers, establishing a strong professional network can provide crucial support, open doors to opportunities, and facilitate mentorship. 

Attending industry events, conferences, and trade shows allows them to connect with key players, potential clients, and like-minded individuals, enabling them to showcase their expertise and accomplishments. Moreover, leveraging digital platforms and social media can be an effective way for tradeswomen to market themselves and their businesses, reaching a broader audience and breaking traditional barriers. By proactively engaging in networking and marketing efforts, women in construction can elevate their visibility, challenge stereotypes, and pave the way for further empowerment and gender equality in the industry.