Construction tends to be an industry dominated by men. But more than 1.2 million women work in construction—10% to 15% of the sector’s workforce, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data—and many say they often experience gender discrimination.
Seventy-two percent of women in construction say they face discrimination, according to a 2020 survey by Workwear Guru, an online publication for working men and women.
To counter it, they’re turning to social media to inspire others to speak up and to show their competencies in the industry, the report says.
Millions of videos have been uploaded on TikTok by women in construction. In a recent report, WorkWear Guru highlighted how women workers are using social media to bring light to the issue.
Women in construction say they’ve faced discrimination in multiple ways, such as a masculine culture that often makes comments like “babe” or “pretty girl,” a lack of women’s washrooms, and male coworkers “mansplaining how to 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. Nearly 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,” writes 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.”