In the era of the Lean In movement and the Women’s March, women are finding their voices and using them. In politics, in the classroom and even on the playing field, women’s participation and leadership are breaking records. However, this is not the case in the board room—especialy in the C-suite. The Russell 3000 Index, a market index that benchmarks the U.S. Stock Market, found that only 9 percent of top executive positions were filled by women. The construction industry reflects this low participation of female executives. Women in construction only number 9 percent across the board of the industry.
Seven percent of all construction executives are women and only 3 percent of the Fortune 500 construction companies have a female construction manager. Most are in sales and office roles (about 45 percent). Russell 3000 also found that women who are in the C-suite usually fill more HR- or administrative-related positions with very few in COO or CEO positions. Women in leadership need to have real decision making power to progress further. On the upside, women in construction tend to have less of a pay gap than other industries—about 5 percent compared to 20 percent.
Though she be but little, She is Fierce
Despite their small numbers, women executives in construction are paving the way for others to access leadership. In 1984, 11 women created Women Construction Owners and Executives, an organization for support and professional development. Their purpose is to promote women into leadership, assist women in executive positions and encourage more women to join the industry. The National Association of Women in Construction and Women in Construction Operations are also resources and networks with thousands of members.
Reprinted courtesy of Annalisa Enrile & Oliver Ritchie, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.