By SHERI GASSAWAY
Washington – The number of women working in construction trades increased by 17.6 percent between 2017 and 2018 in the United States, rising to well over a quarter of a million women, according to a new analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
That jump equates to the highest share of tradeswomen working in the industry in 20 years, and it’s nearly five times faster than the 3.7 percent growth in construction occupations overall.
While the numbers are trending in the right direction, women still remain strongly underrepresented in the trades. Fewer than one in 20 (3.4 percent) construction trades workers were women in 2018.
“In 2019, women’s stark underrepresentation in these well-paid jobs is disconcerting, but it is very encouraging to see such strong growth in the number of women entering the construction trades,” said Ariane Hegewisch, IWPR employment and earnings program director.
St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council Secretary-Treasurer John Stiffler called the results of the new study fantastic news. While the number of women in the building trades is difficult to track in the St. Louis area, he said there definitely has been an uptick in the number of women joining the trades.
“Our building trades unions are all making a concerted effort to recruit more women and minorities,” Stiffler said. “We are beginning to look more like the communities we serve and have seen growth through the roof in the number of women and minorities joining the trades. It’s a tremendous opportunity for the St. Louis area.”
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