Something is bothering us. Every year we recognize women in construction during the month of March. This is awesome. What bothers us is the fact it is widely reported that women make up only ten percent of the construction industry. This is not true. The importance of women in construction is understated.
In most all reports, articles, and posts, women in construction are defined as builders, remodelers, architects, and designers. They are also labelled as skilled trades. The reported breakdown is as follows:
- Builders and remodelers – 10%
- Architects – 17%
- Designers – 69%
The percentages are even lower for management positions within each of these “trades.”
We have met and featured several incredible women in these roles in our “There is a Difference” video and blog series. Emmi Tyson is an impressive architect that shares her experience and insights on design post-pandemic. Emmi also talks about the value of connecting and working with other women in construction to help her grow her career.
Nicole Goolsby is a remodeler that began her career in accounting and sales before leading her construction company. She talks about the advantages she has as a woman working with homeowners on design. Nicole’s experiences reflect those of her customers which makes the project better for all involved.
Geraldine Smith, a builder, that has learned every facet of being a business owner through hands one experience. Her personal touch is a meaningful differentiator to her customers. She did not start in the construction business but quickly learned to like the people, the business, and the chance to be responsible for her own future.
All three of them tell how they do their work a little differently to be successful. Being a woman is a part of their success and we celebrate it with the. However, it is not the whole story.
So Much More
Here is the part that is bothering us about how women in construction are being framed. It fails to include a large and significant segment of the industry that is being driven by women. Here are a few more facts and figures to demonstrate what we mean:
- Sales for builders, suppliers, and manufacturers including real estate – 61.2 % women
- Marketing for builders, suppliers, and manufacturers – 60% women
- Customer services for these same three segments of the construction industry – 66.7% women
- Construction trade media editors – 60% women
- Advertising agencies including creatives, PR, social media, digital, and account management – 52.5% women
Women like Jeni Forman of Hearth and Home Technologies, Kathy Ziprik of Ziprik Consulting, and Heather McCune of Bassenian Lagoni Architects are all leaders in the construction industry making a difference every day. Jeni leads the marketing effort of the nation’s leading fireplace manufacturer supporting multiple brands. Kathy is a Hall of Fame public relations professional with an amazing career of introducing the industry to new products and services across media. Heather is journalist turned marketer that uses her connection with the marketplace to provide a better experience for her readers and clients. They are not being considered in the typical reporting of women in construction, but they should be.
Women in Construction Reframed
When we look at the collective outlined above, women have a much greater role in construction than we are recognizing. Add the women that are working in purchasing, accounting, engineering, and manufacturing and you now have a more complete picture of the importance of women in construction. This is a complete picture is what we believe we should be recognizing today and everyday hereafter. The challenge is to get the industry to recognize women in construction are unstated and reframe the conversation to include all the women that make the construction industry the pillar of the economy that it is today.