Encouraged to pursue construction after winning a contest for the This Old House magazine, due to her expert kitchen remodel, Angela Cacace joined a local building program. Although the 32-year-old former barber was nervous, she was pleased to find that of the twelve people in the program, half were women. She posted happily about it on social media, using the hashtag #MoveOverBob, in reference to the children’s Bob the Builder show.
The hashtag would take on a life of its own, growing into a Facebook page, a website, and an Instagram handle featuring photos of women in construction.
“There’s a demand in the field, and women want to fill the void. Normalizing it seemed like a fun thing to do,” Cacace says. “Young people need resources at their fingertips, and #MoveOverBob has been a great way to find other women. It can get lonely being a woman in construction.”
In those first years, “I was doing a lot of free work ... while keeping my barbering job,” she recalls. “Even though I’d taken the classes, I lacked the confidence in pursuing paid work. That was the attitude of a lot of the women in the class. The guys were there to get into the workforce, and the women were there to learn with no expectation of actually getting a job when we were done.”
Women only make up 9% of the construction industry, and that isolation has led to harassment and assault. But there’s a new community of female contractors that are fighting for their place in the field. Sarah Tull, the Washington D.C. chapter president of the National Association of Women in Construction, says that things are changing. “The industry has become much more open to women, and I’m seeing more on building sites, in meetings and in the trades.”
To read more about women in construction, check out this great article in Roanoke.com.