With the COVID-19 outbreak, an estimated 11.5 million women lost their jobs between February and May. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the worst-hit areas are hospitality, transportation, travel, entertainment, personal services (like daycare and hair salons) and retail. Those industries employ, on average, more women than men.
Many women in the construction industry have been pushing for these displaced women to enter the construction industry, an industry in which women have been traditionally underrepresented.
Catherine Schoenenberger, current president of the Granite State Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction, said that now is an excellent time for women to increase their skills and find a role in the construction sector. In an interview with Laconia Daily Sun, she said, “It’s a great opportunity for women to access [these careers] at this point and get a fair wage.”
Currently, women only make up 2-3% of skilled tradespeople, like electricians and plumbers, and only 10% of construction laborer positions. That number hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years.
Schoenenberger says women themselves are often holding back, feeling unqualified. But, she says, they’re just as skilled, smart, and able-bodied.
Events held at high schools and community colleges display nights such as “hard hats and high heels happy hour” to attract new talent to the construction world. The hope is for the construction industry and potential female job hunter to find and fill these exciting and available positions.