The AEC sector is a male-dominated industry, but over the past several decades we have seen an increase in women joining the construction industry workforce. More and more women are now occupying positions such as project managers, estimators, architects, engineers, CEOs,CFOs and more. However, there are still plenty of obstacles that women have to overcome when entering the AEC industry such as gender discrimination, and the preconceived notion of the construction industry being a “man’s world”.
There have been some nonprofit organizations that have been working tirelessly to help overcome some of the obstacles faced by women. The primary goal for the women focused associations is to create a better work environment for women and facilitate career growth through mentorships, training, and creating networking opportunities.
Today, I would like to bring attention to some of the work being done by organizations dedicated to increasing women involvement in the AEC industry. National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) , an international association that has been dedicated to the advancement of women in the construction industry, is celebrating Women in Construction (WIC) week March 1-7, 2015. The focus of WIC Week is to highlight women as a visible component of the construction industry. Another non-profit organization that has been doing some great work is Futuristas. The goal of Futuristas is to introduce girls to skills and career opportunities in science and technology. Recently they joined the AEC Hackathon team to lead the first-ever “AEC Hackathon Girls!,” meant especially for girls in elementary and middle school. A group of girls spent a day working with 3D building technology using the popular Minecraft game to construct 3D worlds real and imaginary. By the end of the day, three teams of girls were showing off the worlds they had built to a room full of AEC tech professionals. Mentorship programs such as these are a wonderful initiative to encourage young women to enter non-traditional fields for women such as the AEC industry.
I would encourage everyone to find local association chapters dedicated towards improving the AEC industry work environment and get involved.