Women in Construction

Essay by MunhoCollege, Undergraduate October 2007

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Women in Construction

The construction industry, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the second-largest employer in America, with roughly 10 million employees (Hartman, 2004). However, women make up only 10 percent of this workforce. This is slowly changing as women are in increasingly high demand. According to Michael Barkett, state director of training for the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation, women in construction are now employed as job foremen, job superintendents and architects" and the door to women's involvement in construction is "wide open" for those women wishing to pursue this job market (Hartman, 2004, p. S25).

A variety of "government, union and business entities" are endeavoring to inform both women and minority workers of the job opportunities available in the skilled trades (Smith, 2000, p. 3). Through their cooperation, it is the hope of these entities that the urgent need for worker will bring more women and minorities into these professions.

For example, the Great Lakes Construction Alliance is a non-profit organization whose goal is to improve practices within the construction industry and devise methods for attracting women and members of minorities to the industry through research with local unions, such as "bricklayers, carpenters, iron workers, plumbers and roofers" (Smith, 2000, p. 3). Donald O'Connell, managing director of the alliance, indicates that his organization is interested in bringing diversity to the skilled trades because the larger, more diverse pool of workers aids all stakeholders in the industry (Riegel, 2006).

In many areas, agency law dictates that women must be a part of the construction workforce. For example, in the city of Detroit, Executive Order 22 stipulates that all construction projects that receive public funding must have a workforce that consists of "50...