HISTORY OF WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION WEEK
Women in Construction Week takes place during the first full week in March every year. It is a time to highlight all the great initiatives and work of women within the industry. Likewise, it is a time that brings to the fore the opportunities that are available to women in construction.
Women in Construction Week traces the history of women in construction, their challenges, and the ways they’ve been able to overcome them. The holiday is observed to appreciate the women who have taken the bold step to enter the construction industry, and also to encourage those willing to make similar commitments.
Women were first mentioned as construction workers as early as the 13th century. In Spain, women are documented as working on numerous wooden and stone structures. They were also known to serve as apprentices at their husband’s trades, or as patrons of special building projects.
In more recent times, women have made notable advancements in American history. In the late 1870s, Emily Roebling assumed management of the Brooklyn Bridge project when her husband Washington fell ill. The bridge was completed in 1883, and Emily was honored as the first person to ever walk across it.
In 1980, Barbara Res became the first woman to supervise constructing a skyscraper from start to finish. And as recently as 2019, the Leonardo tower in Africa was built by a team almost completely made up of women.
The opportunities for women in the construction industry continue to multiply today. The share of construction workers who are women is at an all-time high and has steadily increased since 2016, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Women numbered 10.9 percent of the entire U.S. construction workforce in 2022
At ABC Keystone we are committed to putting the best talent on the construction field. Welcoming to all people—where employees are limited only by their own potential and desire—is the essence of the merit shop philosophy, and that’s who we are. To learn more visit abckeystone.org.
Meet Haley Shuman
Benchmark Construction Co. Inc. | Ephrata, PA
• Thaddeus Stevens graduate 2020
• ABC Keystone Apprenticeship graduate 2022
“Haley has a bright future in this industry. She is open to learning new tasks every day and doesn’t shy away from the difficult ones. She has the passion for the industry and that will help separate her from the rest.” – Bill Lastinger, Benchmark Construction Co. Inc.
What are the advantages of being a woman in construction?
Women bring a different view to every issue that arises, and experience life differently than men do. You get to bring those different experiences to the table and potentially a new outlook or solution.
What has been the most memorable moment in your career?
Knowing that I have the knowledge and background to get the job done. Being able to work along side seasoned colleagues that will help me grow in the construction industry. And, the family atmosphere on the job site is the best!
What do you think is the most important change happening in the construction industry?
A big one for me is seeing more women in leadership positions. I feel for the longest time that the industry was a little rigid when it came to how and who should fill certain roles in construction. I am excited to be able to witness the transition and see how companies offer their employees the opportunities they deserve—regardless of their race or gender.
What advice would you give to a young woman entering the industry?
I would tell young women to not be afraid to speak up. It can be intimidating being the only woman or one of very few women in a work setting, especially when you are at a young age, but your input is valuable.
Posted March 2, 2023