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Women in Construction Stand Up to Discrimination

Welcome to Women in Construction Week, which coincides with International Women’s Day. This week celebrates, educates, and promotes the role of women in the construction industry—and the theme for both the week and the day coincide.

The theme for this year’s Women in Construction Week is Envision Equity, which seeks to raise awareness of opportunities for women to enjoy a wide range of roles in the construction industry, from tradeswomen to project managers to administrative positions and business ownership. Meanwhile the theme for International Women’s Day is to Break the Bias, which is to imagine a gender equal world.

While there are more women working in construction today compared to four decades ago, there is still much growth needed. Perhaps the bigger conversation though needs to be around discrimination in the workplace, which is often still present in construction. In fact, a 2020 study shows 72% of women in construction face discrimination, up from 66% in 2005. We are trending in the wrong direction.

While this discrimination unequivocally needs to be addressed from the top down, perhaps there is something women can do to help. Perhaps there is a way technology can help here—more specifically social media. Social media can amplify voices where they haven’t been amplified before. Social media can give people a platform to share injustices that are happening all around the world.

And now, more often, women are using social media to show the prejudice they face every day—in an effort to inspire others to speak up. We are seeing this conversation amplified on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and TikTok, where women are sharing their experiences with discrimination and what it looks like to work in an industry that has a very ‘boys’ club’ mentality.

Perhaps making some noise about it can help inspire others to do the same. Perhaps it can inspire a greater movement among management to address the hurdles that exist.

While rectifying this is essential to creating equity and encouraging more women to consider a career in construction—and this conversation is absolutely necessary—today let’s celebrate. Let’s celebrate the strides women have made in the past several decades. Let’s celebrate the success women have had. Take some time today to celebrate a woman you know. Let’s all do it together.

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