Last week, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) celebrated “Women in Construction Week.” As part of the celebration, Bluebeam dedicated our blog to the occasion, with stories chronicling the unique contributions women bring to the construction industry, as well as the challenges they face operating in what is still a largely male-dominated field.
The Bluebeam blog also celebrated WIC Week by attending the numerous events put on by NAWIC’s Los Angeles chapter the week of March 2-6, 2020. This included a breakfast event at Los Angeles’ city hall, a fundraiser and a luncheon, which featured a lengthy panel discussion on the state of women in construction.
Here are four things we learned at these events.
There is an undeniable passion in this community
Each event we attended was jam-packed with women—and men—who are extremely passionate about the industry and the work that they do. For many, working in construction isn’t just a job or a career—it’s a lifestyle.
In both individual conversations with WIC Week attendees and in the formal presentations and panel discussions, you could feel the passion these people have about working in the construction industry.
Not only were attendees obviously passionate about the work, but they were equally—if not more—passionate about the way the industry has allowed them to come together and build a community.
Women bring much-needed perspective to the industry
When most people think of construction, they think of lifting heavy things and hard manual labor. While these elements are undoubtedly foundational to the industry, most of the conversations we heard from NAWIC’s WIC Week events were steeped in the nuances of managing complex projects, communicating effectively through use of “soft skills” and mentoring younger workers who are trying to make a career in the industry.
Construction is a dynamic profession that requires dynamic thinking, and the individuals we encountered during WIC Week were impressive in the perspective they brought to solving some of the industry’s biggest challenges.
Groups like NAWIC are essential to the industry’s progress
For many women in construction, professional associations like NAWIC have been vital in helping them navigate their careers. And to NAWIC’s credit, it has put in place a legitimate and effective forum for women to come together and support one another on an ongoing basis.
It was clear from our team at Bluebeam that the women at the WIC Week events had clearly established powerful, meaningful relationships with one another, and those relationships have been a force in providing the support and insights many women and other minorities in the industry need to confidently grow their careers and contribute to industry advancement.
Men have a role to play
While most of the attendees at NAWIC’s WIC Week events were indeed women, there were many men who came out to show their support.
While it’s incredibly important that women come together in support of one another to grow their careers in construction, men are also needed in the conversation when it comes to tackling the challenges that women in the industry still face.
Many of the panel and speaking events throughout the week included men who voiced their perspective and support of NAWIC’s members.
Seeing such support in the conversation is a positive sign that, no matter how much progress has yet to be made for women in construction, there is a unified effort to keep pushing in pursuit of making the construction industry a truly inclusive place for everyone to thrive and contribute.