Industry Women Weigh In on the New Normal
What do women do in construction? Just about everything. Ten women editors from Engineering News-Record and Architectural Record spent a day in the life of 10 women in the industry to find out what they think about their careers, about breaking stereotypes and about how to get ahead.
Our search for diversity took us to eight states in which we interviewed women in 10 different professions. The women, aged 28 to 58 years old, have roles ranging from assistant professor and journeyman ironworker to chief engineer and CEO. While their backgrounds and jobs vary, they all agree that women have "the right stuff" for construction.
What is the biggest stereotype about women in construction that has been broken?
Gilbane's Karen Arpino-Shaffer Women don't have to act like men. There is more of an appreciation now for what women can do. If you have the answers and are good to people, you don't have to swear or throw your hardhat.
Haskell's Kimberly Spain That women are weak and can't handle the work. I've worked with many women in the field in many different trades, from carpentry to ironwork. Over time, it proved to me that, in many ways, women excel past their male counterparts due to having a "work smarter, not harder" attitude.
Harman Group's Jan Vacca The stereotype of women not being tough enough for the high-intensity, rough-and-tumble world of construction is dying.
Golden Gate Bridge District's Ewa Bauer More and more women are proving that mental toughness is in their very nature. Women have proven over the years that they can face great adverse conditions and survive. It's not gender-related.
Louis Berger Group's Connie Crawford I think we are past the point of finding it unusual to see women on a construction site or in the engineering office. Women are stepping into roles at all levels of projects.
If you could change one thing about the construction industry, what would it be?
Local 25's Katrina Kudzia The bathrooms. My current job is OK, but other sites have been nasty. I once had a Porta-John just for me, but guys ripped the lock off.