ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to be Successful as a Woman in Construction

Updated on October 30, 2014

I am an Assistant Project Manager for a construction company. Every day I answer questions like “how did you get into this kind of job?” or “what would make you want to do this kind of work?” Most people are shocked to see me where I work and many people look at me with a lot of cynicism. Everyone pays attention to my every move and is critical of everything I do. Most people assume I don’t know anything about the subjects at hand and that I am a glorified secretary that got my position with my looks. I work for a wonderful company that treats me very well and has tried to accommodate my desires. I am in no way ‘biting the hand that feeds me.’ The fact of the matter is though that many women don’t want to deal with these kinds of differences in the work place and will not take the initiative to fill this kind of role. I want to say to all the ladies out there- you can be successful and work in construction. You will be treated differently BUT you can still fulfill your dreams and do better for yourself than if you settled for a “woman’s job” just because you’re a woman.

Inequalities- What to Expect and How to Counter It

  • You will have a hard time convincing companies to hire you. Too small of a company and the fact that you are working very closely with men is uncomfortable- even to the men! Too large of a company and they have millions of applicants. Hence there are at least a dozen men with more experience than you and you are easily swept away with a valid excuse. I suggest targeting a company that is big enough to be a corporation (or is one) but still small enough to be considered a small business. Look for SWAM (small women and minority) companies.
  • You will get paid less. While creating resumes and cover letters in which you are asked salary requirements I always asked for just a little less than what the position normally pays. If you ask for the average or above average- even if your skills are worth it- your resume is going in the trash. If the company you are working for truly isn’t sexist and has the money to pay you more once they see what you are worth you will get a raise. As a woman you have to prove that you are worth the money they will be paying you.
  • The men around you will be critical of everything and live for the moment when they can prove you wrong or catch you in a mistake. Men are intimidated by a woman in a position of power in a male dominated field. There are many gender stereotypes. One is that a man is supposed to know how to build and fix things for women. So when a women is telling a man how something should be built she is making him insecure in his manhood. Catching you in your mistakes allows the man to have some of his security back. It is unreasonable to think that you will never make a mistake; we are all human after all. You can: be as accurate as possible, check and double check your work with a fine tooth comb, do your research, be a perfectionist. When you do make a mistake own up to it. If you cover up your mistakes you appear to be fraudulent, scared, and incapable. Finally, do whatever you can to correct the mistake.

Everyone Makes Mistakes

  • You will get talked over and ignored. You must make yourself be heard and be vocal! Just don’t be overly emotional while getting your point across and make sure you know what you are saying and have thought it through before you go shouting it out. Don’t run your mouth just so your presence is known- run your mouth while conveying an important message. If you are too emotional (perhaps because you are passionate about the subject) you will still be overlooked no matter how loud or vocal you are. Don’t stifle yourself either. Convey that you care about the subject and are very passionate but with delicacy. When a woman is very emotional a man thinks it is her hormones talking or that she is bickering. This scares men so they will tune and shut you out.
  • Your role will be down played. Your knowledge and skill set will be questioned. Very few people with have faith in your ability. The only way to overcome this is to know your stuff and do your job accurately and quickly. It will take you longer to prove yourself than it would a man but stay the course and all can’t help to see how great you are- eventually!

Efficiency

One of my strategies for success was to get more education than is necessary. Many of the skills needed to work in construction are handed down through generations or from man to man in the field. Women rarely get the chance to gain experience this way. Overcompensate with education to get your foot in the door and then get the experience. I have an associates applied science in architectural/civil engineering technology. None of my colleagues have education and if they do it is usually less. Some skilled trades have certificates or other associates degrees. I gained experience wherever I could at first doing diversified things. I have done estimating, detailing, project management. A little secretary/assisting and a little accounting. When there wasn’t work for me in the field I wanted to enter I took any job I could get- it shows that I am not afraid of work and will roll my sleeves up and get dirty if need be. Word of caution though. If you do take jobs in other fields keep your eyes peeled in your field and never stop trying. You can get sucked in and stuck doing a job you don’t really want.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1985
1990
1995
2000
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
Women in Construction
619
672
779
881
1074
1117
1122
1045
942
818
% of Pay = to Mans
68
74
74
77
81
82
81
80
80
80

For more information on women's occupations and rate of pay data can be found with OSHA, United States Census, and the Board of Labor Statistics.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)