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Creating a Generative Women-Inclusive Culture
by Jennifer Day PhD with Matt Stevens PhD
Construction discourages the participation of half the U.S. working age population in the industry, and the industry doesn’t get it. Contractors have the work and cannot find the people to execute shovel-ready and profitable jobs. Developers, governments, and other parties that benefit from projects being build accept this reality. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, well over 70 million women are eligible i.e. presently working or seeking work, and between the ages of 18 to 64. Clearly, most have no desire (and are justified in thinking so) to be part of this highly-paid industry. Current construction employment is approximately 7 million and if we hire just 2% of employable women, much of our needed shelter and infrastructure would be built without delay. Additionally, contractors could grow their businesses with less stress.
Now, let’s think about most women and girls’ first exposure to construction.
It’s one of the most cliche things most of us can think of: men on a construction site catcalling to women as they walk past, and sometimes even girls younger than 18. Ask the women in your office; ask you daughter and your mother; ask your wife and your girlfriend; ask the CEO of your company. Most men will be shocked at the frequency and regularity that the women in their lives experience this type of abuse – it often happens daily, and comes from construction workers and strangers, but also even from friends and colleagues.