The construction industry, known for its risk-laden environment, has traditionally been male-dominated. But in recent years, women leading the way in construction safety has become more commonplace, women have been breaking the gender barriers, taking on key roles in safety management. This article delves into the concrete facts of women’s increasing presence in construction safety leadership, avoiding fictional examples.
According to the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), women comprise approximately 10% of the construction workforce as of 2020. Though still a minority, the number reflects a significant increase from the past decade.
Women in Leadership
Women’s presence isn’t limited to on-site roles. They have been leading safety initiatives and driving policy changes:
Cindy DePrater, Senior Vice President of Turner Construction:
She has been instrumental in pushing safety programs and integrating technology into safety management.
Patricia Galloway, Former President of ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers):
Galloway has actively advocated for engineering ethics and safety standards throughout her career.
Cheryl McKissack Daniel, CEO of McKissack & McKissack:
Her leadership in the oldest minority-owned and female-run construction company has included a focus on safety training and workforce development.
Academic and Professional Support
Several universities and professional organizations are actively supporting women in construction:
• The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) offers resources specifically aimed at supporting women in construction.
• Organizations like Women in Construction Operations (WiOPS) focus on mentorship and support for women in construction, including safety management roles.
Emphasizing Safety Education
Women are contributing to the development of safety education within the industry:
Dr. Linda Goldenhar’s research:
A leading researcher in construction safety, Dr. Goldenhar’s work focuses on understanding safety culture and climates in construction.
Women in Safety Engineering (WISE), a common interest group within ASSE (American Society of Safety Engineers):
This group promotes the advancement of women within the safety engineering field, which directly impacts construction safety.
Women leading in construction safety isn’t just a trend, it’s a transformation. With verifiable facts highlighting their contributions in policy, leadership, education, and advocacy, it’s clear that women are reshaping the safety landscape in construction.
The industry must continue to recognize and support these efforts, ensuring that diversity becomes a core aspect of the construction culture. Doing so will not only foster a more inclusive environment but will continue to elevate safety standards across the board.