Celebrating Women in Construction | A Look at Women in Construction Week

Feb 27, 2024 | Blog

The construction industry, historically known for its focus on physical strength and a predominantly male presence, sheds light on the significance of Women in Construction Week. This period marks a shift as women increasingly fill construction roles, challenging old norms and subtly transforming industry hiring practices. The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) spearheads Women in Construction Week (WIC Week), from March 3-9, 2024, celebrating the pivotal contributions of women and advancing diversity and inclusion efforts. This year’s theme, “Keys to the Future,” seeks to spotlight the vital role women play in shaping the future of construction.

In this blog post, we aim to underline the essence of Women in Construction Week, exploring the progress, celebrating achievements, sharing success stories, and detailing efforts to ensure a more inclusive industry.

the national association of women in construction logo

Introducing the National Association of Women in Construction

NAWIC, the driving force behind Women in Construction Week, plays a pivotal role in uniting women across the construction landscape. Since its inception in 1953, NAWIC has been a beacon for professionals in the built environment, providing resources, support, and networks to thrive in a sector that’s evolving in its perception of gender roles. WIC Week has come to symbolize a revolution – an industry-wide acknowledgment of the power that lies in diversifying the archetype of the modern construction worker.



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Historical Context of Women in Construction

The mere mention of construction often conjures up images that are synonymous with masculinity and manual labor. Yet, history holds a vastly more colorful story, with women having made notable contributions in diverse roles on the construction job site.

During World War II, for instance, female laborers took on duties traditionally held by men, effectively broadening the horizons of what women are capable of in the construction industry. Despite the biases of the time, they took to the challenge, proving instrumental in building essential infrastructure that society still relies on today.

The Current Role of Women in Construction

Despite significant progress, construction remains a male dominated industry, presenting considerable challenges for women. These challenges include disparities in pay, fewer opportunities for advancement, and, in some instances, a workplace culture that can be unwelcoming or even hostile. While the current trend of an increasing number of women in construction-related roles is encouraging, it underscores the urgent need for the industry to continue evolving. This transformation is essential not just for attracting women to the field but also for ensuring they can thrive and excel within it.

The celebration of Women in Construction Week (WIC Week) by the National Association of Women in Construction plays a crucial role in this evolution. WIC Week has become an instrumental force in raising awareness about the presence, contributions, and potential of women in construction. By highlighting the accomplishments and challenges of women in the industry, this observance acts as a catalyst for discussions on equality, inclusion, and change.

Beautiful Women Sitting at a Table Giving High Five

Celebrating Women’s Achievements

Every industry is reshaped by the people who step into it and transform the narrative. The construction sector is no different and women have been pivotal in steering it toward progress, innovation, and inclusivity. In celebrating Women in Construction Week, it’s important to celebrate the individual stories of triumph, the milestones achieved in a historically challenging environment, and the contributions to modern construction practices and technology that have come from the community of women builders, designers, and engineers.

Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity

The importance of inclusivity and diversity in any modern industry cannot be overstated. In construction, it’s not just an issue of equality, but a necessity for fostering creativity and adapting to a changing world. WIC Week serves as a platform to highlight the value of a diverse workforce, offering new perspectives, and ensuring that the needs of a diverse community can be better met through the input of all voices.

interior, building, architecture

Construction Industry Spotlight

The construction sector boasts a rich tapestry of talent, resilience, and pioneering spirit, largely woven by remarkable women. Undeterred by the traditionally male-dominated nature of the field, these women have carved out enviable careers, setting benchmarks and redefining leadership for construction companies everywhere. From Patricia Billings, who revolutionized construction materials with her invention of a fireproof, non-toxic plaster, to Deryl McKissack, President & CEO of McKissack & McKissack, the oldest African-American-owned construction company in the United States. Their incredible stories are testament to the fact that gender doesn’t dictate capability or success.

Civil Engineer Planning Dam

South Coast Improvement Company Spotlight

In the dynamic world of construction, it’s imperative to shine a spotlight on women who aren’t just thriving in their roles but are also paving the way for others in the industry. This week, we celebrate the achievements of two remarkable professionals at South Coast Improvement Company (SCI) who epitomize excellence, drive, and innovation.

Alyson Therrien

Alyson Therrien leaps beyond expectations as a Project Executive, bringing to the table an impressive portfolio of over 26 years in Project Management, Construction Services, and Architectural Design. Alyson’s adeptness in fostering seamless communication among all stakeholders and her unwavering commitment to quality control and precision problem-solving stand as testaments to her prowess.

Having spearheaded a myriad of projects ranging from extensive government facilities to high-rise and mixed-use developments across Massachusetts and the Washington D.C. area, Alyson showcases an unmatched versatility and dedication. Her project portfolio boasts remarkable ventures such as the Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech H.S. Health Center, the Atria Woodbriar VFR Replacements, and the Nichols Village project, highlighting her capability to tackle diverse challenges head-on.

Alyson’s background in designing accessible housing and managing over $250 million in construction projects underscores her vast expertise and contributions to SCI’s success. Beyond her professional achievements, Alyson cultivates her passion for art, writing, and travel, adding a unique breadth to her capabilities and interests.

Jenn Martin

Jenn Martin stands out with her 24 years of unparalleled-experience within the realms of financial reporting, accounts receivable, and job cost management. Serving as the assistant controller, Jenn’s extraordinary impact extends through her meticulous management of financials and her pivotal role during SCI’s phases of significant expansion. Her profound expertise and leadership were distinctly demonstrated when she seamlessly assumed responsibilities as the acting controller, further solidifying her position as a linchpin within the company.

Jenn’s diverse skill set, from her meticulous approach to financials to her proficiency in kickboxing and her love for jigsaw puzzles, contributes to her multifaceted role at SCI. Jenn’s personal connection to the construction industry, having begun her career working for her father’s structural steel company, adds depth to her dedication and insights, making her an inspiration to women eyeing a future in the field.

These extraordinary women not only enhance South Coast Improvement Company’s sterling reputation but also embody the spirit of Women in Construction Week. Their professional achievements and personal journeys illuminate the path for aspiring women in the industry, proving that with talent and determination, the construction world offers boundless opportunities regardless of gender. Alyson Therrien and Jenn Martin are not just participants in the construction industry; they are luminaries, leading by example and making significant strides towards a more inclusive and equitable future.

Woman in Gray Formal Coat Sitting Near Black Full-glass Panel Window

Ways to Participate in Women in Construction Week

Participation in Women in Construction Week doesn’t just illuminate the significance of women’s roles in the construction industry; it actively contributes to shaping a more inclusive future. Beyond attending the numerous events hosted by NAWIC and its local chapters, individuals and organizations can engage in a multitude of ways. Volunteering for workshops and seminars not only enriches one’s knowledge but also expands one’s network within the industry. Businesses can demonstrate their support by sponsoring events at local schools or creating internal programs that highlight the achievements of their female construction workers, thereby fostering a culture of recognition and empowerment.

Ways to Spread the Word of Women in Construction Week

Social media platforms offer a powerful tool for amplification; by sharing stories, achievements, and insights related to women in construction, participants can widen the impact of the week’s objectives. Writing articles or blog posts that explore the challenges, successes, and future prospects for women in the industry can stimulate meaningful discussions and inspire others.

Empowering Women in Construction through Mentorship

Lastly, mentorship plays a crucial role in empowering the next generation of young women working in construction. It creates a supportive ecosystem where experienced women employees offer guidance, share their journeys, and extend hands-on support. Such interactions not only pave the path for other women but also fortify the foundation for a diverse and inclusive construction industry. Through mentorship, we build bridges across generations, ensuring that each young woman stepping into the world of construction has a network of allies, inspiration, and the resources needed to thrive and leave her own legacy.

By actively participating in Women in Construction Week, women contribute significantly to an expanding conversation. This dialogue not only celebrates the integral role of women in construction but also vigorously advocates for ongoing progress in achieving inclusivity and equality within the industry.

A Woman Holding a Power Tool Doing Woodworks

Conclusion

Women in Construction Week is a vibrant epitome of the changes taking place in an industry once bound by the invisible lines of gender. It’s a time to acknowledge the progress made, the challenges yet to be overcome, and the potential women hold in building a better, more inclusive world.

As construction professionals celebrate Women in Construction Week, the call to ensure the industry reflects the wider demographics of society grows stronger. Women in Construction Week doesn’t just happen for a few women once a year; it’s a reminder and reinforcement of the ongoing need for change among us all. By championing diversity and equality daily, we lay the groundwork for a more sustainable and responsive industry for generations to come.

 

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