Construction Best Practices

7 Ways to Empower Women in Construction


“What is the most challenging thing about being a woman in construction?”

When this questions was posed during a recent live webinar, it brought out a LOT of ideas and reactions! Namely: Needing to be heard and prove yourself, and needing opportunities to learn.

Irene Walsh Garcia, Senior Project Manager at Broadway Electric, has seen it all: “Women are doing amazing. They’re detail oriented, they’re doing all the things. So why are they still not getting promoted?"

Women are doing amazing. They’re detail oriented, they’re doing all the things. So why are they still not getting promoted?

“Most of the people evaluating these new people are men,” Garcia says. “So even though women may be checking all the boxes, they’re not being recognized as leadership because the leadership qualities women have can sometimes look or be interpreted differently than the leadership qualities men have. The rulestick was not made for women.”

Women have to have those hard qualifications, Garcia says: “What is it going to take the promotion? Set a timeline, set expectations, and articulate what you want. It might be that the company is not the right fit, and women continue to get stuck in support roles.”

1. Overcoming Gender Challenges:

Overcoming these challenges requires stepping out of comfort zones, having difficult conversations, setting clear expectations, and finding a company that aligns with personal values.

“First and foremost, know your worth. Don’t be afraid to go after it,” says Jeannie Flores, Analytics & Integrations Manager at ENE Systems.

2. Enhancing Women's Growth:

Growth opportunities for women in construction can be enhanced by normalizing the presence of women in the industry, gaining confidence, asking questions, and understanding all aspects of the business.

“The idea that someone has to ask for flexibility, is a huge problem for feeling welcome in a place,” adds Joshua Broder, CEO & Founder of Tilson Infrastructure.

3. Proactive Opportunity Seeking:

It's crucial for women to be proactive in seeking opportunities and advocating for themselves in the construction industry.

“Everyone here is more capable and can accomplish so much more than they are thinking they can.We are capable,” says Garcia.

4. Understanding Business Dynamics:

Understanding the bigger picture of the company and learning about different parts of the business can help women adapt and succeed in the male-dominated construction industry.

“Know what you want and ask for it!” says Mary Soffner.

5. Encouraging Female Applications:

Companies should clearly communicate the minimum requirements for a role to encourage more women to apply, as women often perceive themselves as under-qualified for positions.

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Charity Heller leads the Viewpoint content team. She is passionate about engaging new audiences and creating relationships through storytelling, data, strategy, and inclusion.