CMU School of Drama

Friday, September 30, 2016

2016 Women in Construction

Constructech: Today, women are proving they have what it takes to stand at the construction jobsite and lead large teams and projects, while also identifying ways technology can help deliver projects on time and on budget. However, the construction workforce is still lacking when it comes to women on the jobsite.

12 comments:

Aubrey Sirtautas said...

While I agree with the premise of the article and the need for more women in all fields that lean toward one gender or the other, the rhetoric in the article is why women are still having trouble with gender equality in the workplace. When have women ever “proven themselves” incapable of doing the job? And why should they have to prove themselves now. The article implies that now women are good leaders on the jobsite and in the office, which indicates that at one point, they were not. In reality, the heart of the issue is that women were never given the opportunity to have an active role in this industry. Until women no longer need to prove they are capable of doing anything, we do not have equality, and in all honesty, we will likely not correct the wage gap until we change the way we talk about women working in traditionally male-dominated industries.

Monica Skrzypczak said...

I agree with Aubrey. The idea of the article is to rejoice that women are getting more and better jobs in construction while when you read it it sounds like it was written years ago when gender equality was just getting started and its was “okay” to flavor an article with the undertone that it is a brand new crazy idea that women might be a good idea for male-dominated workplaces and that they might be a good choice. The article implies that at one point women were not a good at construction, but really the problem lies in that they were never given a chance to show that they are good at it. And it was written this week. Like come on people. Why is it still such a novel idea that women can be good at the same things men are good at? The only good part of the article is the bios of all the women, but even some of those are patronizing.

Jasmine Lesane said...

This article raises a lot of good points that I had never really thought about. I agree that the term Assistant does carry a certain connotation with it, and so though that connotation is probably unjust, it is easier to change titles than change linguistics. My father has expressed confusion before about how theatrical resumes seem very heavily rooted on implied things rather than certifications or position descriptions, which is interesting to me because even though every show calls for something different there are things that you will always do, but company employees have that same thing. Every company will ask for different things.so maybe on resumes job descriptions wouldn't be the worst idea? We do have interviews for asking about he specifics though.bAnyway getting back on track, the associate stage manager is an interesting title, because to me it makes me feel that they are partners, not in a hierarchy. That is definitely more representative of the work they do.

Anonymous said...

I think Aubrey and Monica are definitely right. I started reading this article thinking it would be something that I agreed with almost completely. I do agree that women need to start pushing for more jobs in fields that are primarily men, and vice versa. When I walk into the costume show there are no men in positions of power, and that does jut as little for equality as me walking into the scene shop where it feels like I am being drowned in testosterone. All that being said I am going to become physically ill if I hear another person talk about how it is okay for women to start having jobs that men do now because they are finally capable of doing the work at the same capacity. As if women 50 years ago were not capable of working in the scene show, and now they suddenly are. Women haven't changed the culture, and how accepting we are of women has. I have some issues with this article because it is trying, and I appreciate that, but it is still covered in sexism, just a little better hidden. We have to realize that letting men and women have the same jobs is not equality. When we change the culture and change the way we talk about gender, and I make the same damn amount of money then they language can be more casual, but for now lets talk about it like its a big deal. Because it's not going away, and it's a big deal.

Kelly Simons said...

YES! As a woman in a predominantly male field I am so thrilled to see that this article made it on the green page. It’s absurd to think that a woman somehow can’t come up with ideas and innovations in the construction field. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not as strong as my male coworkers, but that doesn’t make my mental abilities any less than theirs. I’m so glad to read that “Since that time, the construction industry has seen a surge of women rising up the ranks. This year, Constructechreaders nominated more than 100 women for consideration”. Although there is much room to improve, I still appreciate the fact that this list was even created to begin with. To have 100 women considered for this list shows that women are levelling the playing field for myself and others who are going into fields dealing with construction.

Liz said...

Though I agree with the previous comments that articles should not make it sound like an unbelievable bold new idea that women are good at male-dominated jobs, the bright side of this type of article and the "honor list" is that, at the very least, it encourages more women to enter the male-dominated work field. Despite the patronizing undertone, the Contrutech magazine's intent is to acknowledge women who are already in the construction industry are just as brilliant and capable, if not more so; and to let women who are not sure of getting in or thinking about getting in to actually do it.
I will fight along with others for the day when it becomes so normal, and common, and ordinary that every time any minority group, be it women, or people of color, or the handicapped, get hired, paid well, acknowledged, or awarded, we don't need to make a big deal about it. The fight for gender equality has been going on for such a long time, yet unfortunately we are still seeing, everyday, women need to prove extra hard that they are good.

Ruth Pace said...

This summer, I had the opportunity to be a scenic carpentry intern at a summer-stock theater. It was there that I learned that despite the fact that the year is currently 2016, and I still find myself trying to explain why I belong in a scene shop. Tool-related anxiety aside, I know generally how things are done, scenic construction-wise. I can knock out a flat quickly and efficiently, and leg a platform with the best of them.
This summer, however, proved to me that no matter what, no matter where, when it comes to building things, I will always have to prove myself over and over again. That each day, I represent women in my field when I go to work. I learned this summer that it doesn't matter how much steadier my jigsaw hand is, or how much more flush my edges are. The second I have an issue with the table saw, the second I flub a measurement, the other team scores a point. To be perfectly clear in terms of my experiences this summer, I was not under pressure by my leadership, who listened patiently to my feelings in regards to the sexism I found myself facing on the floor.
Indeed, all it takes is one fellow co-worker to create a hostile environment for a female construction worker, due to the collaborative nature of the work. In terms off affecting the numbers of women in the field, all it takes is a few sexist men, once again, to create an environment hostile to female construction workers.

Mary Frances Candies said...

The first sentence of this article is so incredibly disappointing. "Today, women are proving they have what it takes..." Really? Only just now women decided to prove that they could do construction work?
I understand that this article is trying to provide representation for women in construction. Yes, representation is wonderful. We need representation. I understand that this article is illustrating that the gender gap is still incredibly vast in the construction work force. The tone this article takes, however, does not sit well with me. And this article was written by a woman! I just wish that this article would be celebrating women getting recognition rather than women "proving" themselves.

Emma Reichard said...

Every industry has its issues, and for the vast majority, gender inequality is one of them. But by far one of the worst culprits is the construction industry. I’m very glad Constructech is actively addressing the problem. According to their Bureau of Labor statistic, women only make up around 2% of the construction and extraction industries’ employees. That is a ridiculously low number remnant of the middle ages. What Construtech has done here is create a safe space for women in this industry. It also gives them a platform to praise other women for their work, something men in the industry might overlook. This process is reminiscent of the ‘amplification’ explained in the article about how Obama’s female staffers get themselves heard in meetings. It reinforces the work women have done, making it undeniably theirs. One thing that really struck me about the article, is that in both the opening and closing paragraphs, the term ‘prove themselves’ is used. It really hit me while I was reading this that every woman who enters that industry has to work so hard just to get the same level of baseline respect a man will automatically get when he walks through the door. Men, as a gender, never have to prove themselves. But with women, it’s the majority of the struggle. I hope this and other initiatives like it leave the construction industry more open to gender equality.

Sarah Battaglia said...

I think Aubrey and Monica are definitely right. I started reading this article thinking it would be something that I agreed with almost completely. I do agree that women need to start pushing for more jobs in fields that are primarily men, and vice versa. When I walk into the costume show there are no men in positions of power, and that does jut as little for equality as me walking into the scene shop where it feels like I am being drowned in testosterone. All that being said I am going to become physically ill if I hear another person talk about how it is okay for women to start having jobs that men do now because they are finally capable of doing the work at the same capacity. As if women 50 years ago were not capable of working in the scene show, and now they suddenly are. Women haven't changed the culture, and how accepting we are of women has. I have some issues with this article because it is trying, and I appreciate that, but it is still covered in sexism, just a little better hidden. We have to realize that letting men and women have the same jobs is not equality. When we change the culture and change the way we talk about gender, and I make the same damn amount of money then they language can be more casual, but for now lets talk about it like its a big deal. Because it's not going away, and it's a big deal.

Cosette Craig said...

Im glad that steps are being made to include women in a male dominated industry. This summer I worked as an intern carpenter. Thankfully, the other interns were all female. I liked seeing that the theater was taking the initiative to work towards an equally represented workplace but at the same time, I felt a lot of pressure. Besides the interns, there was only one other female working in the shop. I felt that to prove myself in this group, I had to be exceptional. This may have been due to the fact that this was my first internship, or the standards of the theater were higher than I had ever experienced, but there was always the lingering thought that I wasn't good enough. This article addresses the culture of having to "prove yourself" in some way. All this aside, I'm glad to see that the construction industry is embracing a new line of workers.

Lauren Miller said...

YAS! I agree with many of the previous commenters that the rhetoric of the article is a little on the older side. In an ideal world, women should never have to “proven themselves” to be as competent as men, it should simply be recognized that women and men are equally as qualified for any job. What this article does not touch on is the sometimes toxic culture of masculinity which surrounds construction still. This summer I worked with someone who is extremely feminine, however, he felt the need to hide this fact from the rest of the shop and he pretended that that aspect of his personality did not exist until nearly the end of the summer. I spoke to him later about it and he said that the reason he hides his typical gender presentation is because he feels that he will be judged and possibly not accepted by the others around him. And, honestly, I too have had similar experiences. I have changed my appearance and mannerism to fit in with the culture. There is a pressure put on everyone in a shop to look and behave in a very masculine way. Meanwhile, the opposite stigma exists in costumes, where most people, regardless of gender, tend to be more feminine. This is harmful to everyone and needs to change.

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