The construction industry has long been seen as one that’s dominated by men. But in fact, there are more than 1.2 million women working in the construction space in the U.S., making up around 10% to 15% of its entire workforce, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Despite the reality, the fact is that many women in the construction industry still report facing gender discrimination in the workplace.
According to a 2020 survey by Workwear Guru, an online resource for working men and women, some 72% of women in construction say they’ve faced gender-based discrimination.
Now, they’re turning to social media apps such as TikTok to counter discrimination by speaking up and showing their competency in construction.
There have been millions of videos uploaded to TikTok highlighting women in the construction industry. Workwear Guru, in a new report, highlighted some of the ways women are using social media to draw attention to their skills and the issues they face.
Discrimination against women in construction takes multiple forms. They face a masculine culture where they’re often referred to by phrases such as “babe” or “pretty girl”. There’s a lack of women’s washrooms on many construction sites, and male co-workers often tend to “mansplain” to women about how they should do their job.
“People are often surprised when they see me show up to job sites, and sometimes I feel like I have to prove myself,” Cecelia Leger, a tile installer from Nebraska, shared on Twitter.
Women workers fear that other women may leave the construction industry if more isn’t done. Half of the women surveyed by WorkWear Guru said that they believed the culture is the main reason women leave the industry. Thirty-eight percent considered outright discrimination to be the cause of women quitting.
But women in construction hope that by speaking up and taking to social media they’ll be able to educate and inspire other women to join the industry and feel that they’re not alone.
“I love following the #womeninconstruction hashtag,” wrote Britney Mroczkowski, a licensed Florida real estate broker for eXp Commercial. “I get to see so many inspiring women who are making waves in this industry. It may be a small crowd, but they are passionate about what they do.”