Gordian Logo RSMeans Data from Gordian

Women in Construction: Building a Better Future

This week is Women in Construction Week, and today is International Women’s Day with the theme “Press for Progress.” With that in mind, to go forward you need to know where you are, as well as how you got there.

Where are we?

More women are in the field of construction than ever before. However, they still make up a very small portion of the workforce. A mere nine to 14 percent (depending on the source) of those employed in construction are women, and most statistics project women comprise about 25 percent of the workforce overall in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Women who pursue construction degrees and careers express different reasons for choosing a traditionally male-dominated field. Those who do say they love the element of working with people, the variety of projects they get work on and the ability to see the product as the project evolves. And they find fulfillment in furthering the path created by some female pioneers of the industry.

Where did we come from?

There have been a number of women who made significant contributions to open the doors for females in the field of construction. There are many, but three I especially admire each made significant achievements for all of us.

Emily Roebling became the technical leader for the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge after her husband, then chief engineer, became ill. After 14 years dedicated to the project, she was also the first to cross the bridge upon its opening in 1883.

In 1926, Lillian Gilbreth was the first female to become a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She was also the first female professor in the engineering school at Purdue University.

More recently in 2011, Kris Young became the first female to hold the office of President of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).  She remains the only female to hold this highest office.

Where are we going?

Though no one can say for certain where we will go from here, it is projected the number of women in construction will increase to 25 percent by 2020. That is an impressive amount of growth for two years.Women in Construction

At Gordian supporting construction is our largest endeavor, and we do this with a combination of cost data, software, expertise and services. Women work across every area of Gordian – from finance to software development and sales to the project management of construction.  There is also representation from women at every stage of their career in addition to their specialties.

Women at Gordian

We asked some of the women at Gordian to reflect on their own careers in the industry. They had a lot of encouraging words for others considering a career in this growing and critical field.

“I’ve been a part of many types of construction projects, from ditch digging and back hoe operating to sustainability management. I’ve had great experiences and see the industry continuing to evolve. I would definitely encourage women to pursue this field.”
– Melora Lager, Junior Account Manager

“I was originally hired by a heavy equipment dealer as a temp. Thankfully, my supervisor took a chance on a 21 year-old woman and taught me how to stand tall in this industry.  Yes, it can be a challenging industry, but it is also very rewarding.”
– Cristie Ogden, Jobsite Office Manager

“I didn’t intentionally intend to enter construction, but I am glad I did. The industry isn’t only about being a laborer. There are opportunities for project management, facility planning, design and so much more.”
– Geni Medeiros, Construction Cost Research Manager

Will women represent 25 percent of the construction workforce by 2020?  I can’t say for certain, but if other organizations in the construction industry have women as smart, experienced and driven as those at Gordian, I am confident we will get there.

About Angie Gunter

As the former Vice President of Marketing at Gordian, Angie was responsible for leading and directing marketing campaigns and determining brand and corporate communications. Angie is a marketing executive with decades of global marketing experience and proven success in transforming teams, systems and organizations for sustainable high-growth and successful exits in the technology industry. Angie now serves as the SVP and CMO at Ivanti.