Today kicks off Women in Construction Week, when we honor the women who choose to work in the male-dominated industry, as well as the organizations that invest in striving for parity in construction. The celebration culminates in International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8, and this year’s theme is “think equal, build smart, innovate for change.”
This week’s picks remind us to support and celebrate women all year long.

  • She’s Been There. Marilyn Grabowski built her own successful construction business and shares seven things she’s learned the hard way over her 17 years in the industry. Entrepreneur has the list. Pepper Construction’s Jennifer Suerth and our own Alli Scott discuss the challenges and opportunities for women in construction with Forbes.
  • Joining Forces. Construction isn’t the only field working hard to increase women in its ranks. Manufacturing is too, and the timing couldn’t be better. As the two industries increasingly converge, there’s an opportunity to rethink the way both industries operate. Machine Design offers five ways to boost the presence of women in manufacturing, and Forbes recently published a list of 50 women-led start-ups that are thriving, many of them in manufacturing (Fetch Robotics) and construction (Senseware).
  • Hard Hatted Woman. In the first feature-length documentary about women in construction trades, five tradeswomen share their personal stories. Autodesk is a proud funding partner of this film that acknowledges the struggle the women face and honors the important work they do each day. ”Hard Hatted Woman” is in post-production now and you can donate here to support the cause and help finish the film.

Image courtesy of Hard Hatted Woman.

  • Signal of Change. Manhattan’s Plaza Construction decided to swap outdated “Men at Work” signs with more inclusive “Men and Women at Work” signs. The move makes sense for the company, which says women comprise 25 percent of their workforce compared to the 9 percent national average (according to NAWIC).

Image courtesy of J.C. Rice.

  • Next Gen. Inspiring young girls to pursue an interest in making and building is just as important as supporting and empowering women in the field today. Each year, Miron construction hosts its Build Like a Girl event where 7th through 10th grade girls visit a temporary job site and get their hands dirty trying out masonry, carpentry, concrete work, and equipment operation. #GirlsWithDrills hosts beginners woodworking workshops led by women, designed to give young people confidence in making, and Girls Garage offers summer and after-school programs for girls ages 9-17 to promote creativity, grit and curiosity through hands-on building led by an all-female staff.
 

Video courtesy of Miron Construction.

  • For Women, By Women. A former women’s prison in Manhattan is being redesigned to become The Women’s Building, a workspace and hub for social justice leaders and organizations working to drive critical change. Deborah Berke Partners is the architect selected to reimagine the space, and the union project reached its goal of having tradeswomen working 35 percent of all construction trade hours on The Women’s Building site.

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