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Women in Construction Tell It Like It Is
By Editor
Thursday - August 24, 2017 4:44 pm     Article Hits:64     A+ | a-
By Joan O’Brien, Education Manager

(NOTE: Reprinted with permission from United Contractors. To read the complete July edition focused on women, click here.)

In developing trend-setting educational training programs for UCON, I have the pleasure of getting to know some of the brightest, gutsiest (is that a word?), next-gen women in the industry… but I wish there were more of them! And there should be.
 
What makes women choose this industry… and stay? I asked a few of the (female) attendees of UCON’s PMCA (Project Management Career Advancement Program) and our Leadership Development Program if they could give me any insight on this industry and how to attract women to it. Here is what they have to say (take note!):
 
Michelle North, Project Manager/Project Coordinator & Safety Officer, Tennyson Electric, Inc.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve encountered in a male dominated environment?
The hardest thing I’ve encountered is being heard! It is hard work when you have to continually prove one’s competence which tends to be presumed in one’s male counterpart.

What would you tell another female (PM, or other) coming out of school and considering the industry?
Set goals for yourself and don’t stop until you achieve them, and don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot make it.

What are the advantages for a woman in the industry?
We are confident-we know when to be aggressive and assertive and when not to be.

Ashley Sander, Project Engineer, Joseph J. Albanese, Inc.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve encountered in a male dominated environment?
The greatest challenge I have encountered working in a male dominated environment was overcoming my own ideas of stereotypes. I expected to be compared to men, viewed as weak, or even ignored just because I am a woman. I entered the industry somewhat defensively, so I was pleasantly surprised to feel welcomed and embraced, both in the office and in the field. The number of women in our offices continue to grow. I am proud to be among both women and men working together to make the construction industry stronger.

What would you tell another female (PM, or other) coming out of school and considering the industry?
The industry certainly has its challenges, but as long as you have the passion, devotion, courage, hunger to persevere, you will attain success. Rely on your past training, such as studying, internships, sports teams, clubs and other extracurricular activities to increase your confidence. It is up to you to find your inner strength and achieve your personal goals.

What are the advantages for a woman in the industry?
Women continue to break down more and more barriers each day. I whole heartedly believe that a significant number of women in the construction industry have come to acknowledge the value of women in construction, and are open to letting us prove our abilities. I am proud to be part of the Joseph J. Albanese team, and am thankful that this company continues to see the value of the women in the workforce.
 
Read more interviews with women in construction in the July edition of the United Contractors magazine. Reprinted with permission.

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