News & Politics

College Panel Calls for More Women in Construction, Similar Jobs

Demonstrators march up 5th Avenue during a women's march, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

It seems that feminists actually can listen to their opposition. After years of them whining on and on about how there aren’t enough women in STEM or filling roles as CEOs of major companies, they’re now shifting gears. Since they’ve been routinely blasted for not lamenting the number of women in roles like construction, they’ve decided that to now be a problem as well.

A panel at Smith College takes issue with the fact that only three percent of construction workers throughout the nation are women. As PJ Media contributor Toni Airaksinen notes at Campus Reform:

In an interview with the local newspaper, Smith College Professor Susannah Howe said the event was geared towards advocating for more women in construction, drawing parallels between the construction field and the lack of women in STEM.

Howe noted that there are “challenges for women breaking into male-dominated fields like construction,” and that she hopes to encourage people “to advocate for and hire more women on construction projects.”

“Women need to know that there are training pathways and job opportunities for them in construction, plus role models and supportive peers/managers when they pursue such work,” Howe added.

However, it should be noted that there’s really nothing in place barring women from such trades except the desire of many women to perform that kind of work.

If you’ve never worked construction, allow me to tell you a little bit about the job. After all, my first job after my discharge from the Navy was construction, so I’m familiar with the work.

First, you wake up in the morning and get to your job site earlier than most people get to work. You’re outside, which is great on a nice day, but it also means you’re working in the heat, the cold, and even the rain from time to time. You also miss days because of the weather when it gets really bad.

While working, you’re constantly in motion. You’re toting materials from one part of the job site to another, climbing onto whatever it is you’re building, sometimes balancing on a narrow beam while trying to continue construction, always mindful that falling is not a particularly pleasant proposition even from the roof of a single-family home.

In other words, it’s not for everyone.

Why does this matter? Well, it matters for the simple fact that perhaps the reason there are so few women doing the work is that very few women want to do it in the first place.

Further, while some women do get on job sites, many don’t stick around, thus making it harder for the next round of women who want to do the work. A construction site isn’t the place to make a statement. They have a difficult job to do, and the people who do that work don’t have time or patience for people who aren’t there to follow directions, but to change the way things get done.

Efforts like this panel as Smith College won’t help women break into construction, and may actually hinder them. Of course, I could be wrong. We’ll have to see.

Maybe we’ll see about the same time Smith College hosts a panel about the gender disparity in occupations like nursing, teaching, and social work.