February 03, 2021
“There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish.” – Michelle Obama.
Growing up the hardest/sometimes easiest question that we were usually asked was “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
We all gave our answers such as doctor, pilot, neuro surgeon, teacher, engineer which were the answers the children in us thought were the right answers, while maybe we felt sometimes those were the answers that our parents needed to hear.
A lot of times though, rarely did we hear the girls say they want to build houses, architecture yes, but construction not so much.
You can do anything if you want to.
For the longest time, the construction world looked like it was made for the men and if history is anything to go by, the construction world was mainly a male dominated area.
Not that this is a battle of the sexes article, but more of a reflective article on where we have come from, where we are and where we are heading to.
Globally one of the first documented women in construction was in the late 1800s. Emily Roebling.
She stepped in as the “first woman field engineer” and saw out the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge but only because her husband had become ill.
She is the first documented lady, but not because she was the only one. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if her husband had never fallen ill.
As a matter of fact, women used to be at construction sites as laborers carrying water, digging ditches for foundations, thatching roofs and mixing motors. The problem is that they were never documented as part of the crew.
But if we were to bring the point home, African women have been in construction since their existence. The Maasai and Turkana women built the manyattas themselves. The Kamba ladies would build a mud hut if one lady in the village was chased away from her house by her husband. So women have been in construction, it’s just that we viewed it from a different lens.
However times have changed, and more ladies are joining the construction world. The modern construction world and the world is fully embracing it. And we are here to celebrate them today. We pay homage to you today.
For the aspiring ones, welcome to our world. This is a world full of so many possibilities and opportunities. Rest assured, your best feeling will always be seeing a bare ground transformed to a skyscraper. We have come from far, and we are going far. So, buckle up.
Before embarking on the adventure of joining construction workers in the industry, women may want to know a few helpful facts in order to access their options.
(But before that, here is something that you should know)
Construction is very much in need of female leaders as construction managers, executive, and CEO roles. 44% of the top one hundred contracting companies have women in leadership roles! So there is enough room for you.
Tips for Women in Construction
If you are trying to join the working ranks of women in the industry, there are many details to consider. We recommend the following tips to excel in the field:
• Do not be afraid to get your hands dirty – When it comes to any job, people in the labour positions give more respect to their supervisors when they are willing to do the same jobs if they have too.
• Be goal oriented – In order to get ahead in the industry, everyone needs to prove their worth. Keep track of the numbers associated with your job so that you can set personal goals to better them.
• Stand out – There’s nothing wrong with being yourself and a woman who knows what she wants. Using skill sets others in the industry may not have is an asset. That’s what people and contractors will remember.
• Stay educated – Join training programs to keep in tune with your industry. Especially if you’re not ‘working on the ground.’ Knowing those little details will help you excel.
• Allow yourself to be helped – It’s not that you can’t do it all, but there will come a time when having help really plays a role in your continued success. In a male-dominated industry, it doesn’t hurt to have someone to help bring you to the table.
• Build up other women – In order to bring more women into the field, we need to embolden and inspire. Doing so will allow those who are already working hard to make a difference!
As we conclude, here’s one more tip:
For the courses that will open doors to this world : civil engineering, quantity surveyor, land surveyor, construction, electrical and wiring, mechanical engineering, woodshop, welding, architecture.