The construction industry needs us, ladies. As Procore detailed in a blog post earlier this month, the construction industry is facing a personnel shortage, and Millennial women are poised to meet the need. They point out that women in leadership roles tend to improve decision making and are good for not just for the construction industry, but for the United States’ GDP as a whole.
But they also note that women are still facing barriers in the construction industry. The author notes, “For women to make inroads in construction, however, many companies have to make changes… or example, women have fewer networking opportunities, role models, and sponsors at higher levels of organizations. There is also evidence that women are treated differently when it comes to promotions.”
Luckily, there are a host of resources that are dedicated to helping women succeed in construction. As Elaine McKenna told ConstructionWeekOnline, “Definitely within the last 20 years, barriers have fallen and the industry has become more accessible to all walks of life.” One way that it has done so is by offering all of these great resources for women in construction.
Without further ado, these are the best associations, blogs, conferences, and books for women looking to succeed in the construction industry.
As an affiliate of NAWIC, CAWIC is the professional construction organization in Canada. CAWIC provides mentoring, networking, and marketing opportunities, community outreach opportunities, and original research on the construction field. Students can join for $40 a year, and fees scale up (depending on business size or level of individual participation) to $500 a year.
Zeroing in on “non-traditional populations in construction and related industries,” PWC focuses on advocating for minority- and women-owned construction firms. Though smaller than some other construction associations, PWC still serves 1,000 members and advocates for over 15,000 firms. Membership includes free subscriptions to Real Estate Weekly and New York Real Estate Journal in addition to several discounts to products like car rental, cell-phone plans, and a prescription discount card. Membership cost $65 for students and scales up based on the size of one’s business to $750. Individual membership costs $225.
Started in Fort Worth, Texas, NAWIC is a nationally recognized construction association with over 4,500 members. Membership includes advertising opportunities for your company, educational opportunities including scholarships and leadership development, technical training, and discounts on certain goods and services. NAWIC does not advertise their membership fees.
Aiming to make a “positive difference for women in the construction industry so there will come a time when gender will cease to be a business issue,” WCOE is the premier business association for female construction business owners. The membership offers a discount to a number of construction-related services, like BidSync, Consensus Docs, and PR Newswire. Membership ranges from $500 to $25,000.
The women writing this blog make no apologies about bringing further diversity to the construction industry in the United Kingdom. This blog is fantastic at distributing original research, updating the industry on social issues (check out “Why Modern Slavery Is A Threat To Your Construction Business, And How You Can Stamp It Out”), and offers uncensored opinions on construction news.
While not necessarily a women-in-construction-specific blog, the NCCER blog tends to cover women in construction issues. One can easily narrow down these posts using the Women in Construction tag to find opportunities for girls to enter the construction field, editorial pieces, and personal stories about women already in the industry.
Run through the Oregon Department of Transportation, this blog aims to tell the stories of women and minority men in the Oregon construction industry. Posts range from promoting the department to highlighting scholarship opportunities to telling stories about individuals in the field.
While this blog is frustrating to run through (only one post per page!), the WCOE blog does an excellent job detailing the latest news in the field that relates to women.
This year, the 2015 NAWIC conference will focus on “The Sounds of Success.” The conference will include professional seminars and workshops, networking opportunities, and a tradeshow. Seminars include “Selling in a Skirt,” “Change Management Strategies,” and “The Surprising DNA of General Contracting MVPs.”
May 6, 2015
New York City, NY
This one-day conference has been a tradition for many women in construction for the past six years. This year’s topic is “Across the Generations: Addressing the Elephants Still in the Room.” It means to address problematic gender dynamics in the workplace, provide training on how women should manage other women, and how women in the industry can bridge the existing pay gap.
May 1-3, 2015
Los Angeles, CA
Every year, the State Building and Construction Trade Council of California hosts a conference to celebrate the success of women in construction and also offer networking, skill-building, leadership development, and organizing opportunities. This conference is particularly valuable to new members of the construction industry as it provides several opportunities to network for an apprenticeship.
October 15, 2015
Hosted by a construction litigation attorney, this conference aims to provide educational, networking, and mentorship opportunities to women in construction. The event hosts between 150-200 people each year and is hosted in Washington, DC.
Books and Publications
This Kindle book is a great primer for women interested in residential construction. Whether they want to remodel (or build) their own home or learn about the industry, this guide breaks down the stereotypes that only men can use power tools or can build their own home.
Amy Farrell details her life as a female construction worker at a time when sexism in the industry was even more tangible than it is today. Faced with her peers telling her, “Women in work boots and hard hats belong in nude calendars, not on real construction jobs,” Farrell tells her story of overcoming the challenges of the construction industry.
Image is NAWIC’s magazine for and by women in the construction industry. While this magazine covers all construction-related issues, it’s careful to provide a plethora of topics that particularly affect women. Topics range from broad industry how-tos (like LEED certification) to editorials on women’s issues (like whether female presidents should get a formal certification for having a women-owned business).
I’m sure that there are lots of other great resources for women in construction. What did I miss? What do you recommend? Leave your thoughts and comments below!