Construction mothers can wrangle a forklift, swing a sledgehammer, and drive a nail in three quick blows, while also driving their kids to school and providing for their families. These moms sport hard hats and tote two-by-fours for a paycheck, plus help around their homes and see endless piles of laundry. Many of these women see the construction industry as a challenging, well-paid career. And it’s cool.
A full 66 percent of our country’s employment is construction work, and not surprisingly, it’s a man’s club. For every 95 men on a construction site, there are 5 women.1 Because they’re facing down stereotypes, women have to keep up.
“I have worked really hard to balance it all as a working mom in the construction industry,” says Jennifer Gonzales, Senior Project Manager at Rogers-O’Brien Construction. “Working with mostly men and living with all men, some days I have excelled and some days I have struggled. Overall, I have won by raising three wonderful young men while building a career.”
In the construction industry, there are thousands of dads who understand what it’s like to raise a family. Like women, these men are also struggling to find work-life balance and respect that women might need some flexibility as well. Despite their own struggles to find work-life balance, it’s still a challenge to find additional support when it’s needed in certain phases of life, such as childbirth. What makes it harder for women in construction is that there are so few of them in the industry. Women make up 10.3 percent of the construction labor force, a contrast with the rest of the labor force where 47 percent are women.2
“Having my son witness my passion for the construction industry is very special,” says Sarina Landers, Operations Administrator with Karsten Interior Services. “He loves wearing my PPE and constantly asks ‘if we built that’ every time we drive by a large building. It would be tremendous if he decided to pursue construction as a career path. The opportunities are limitless.”
Being greatly under-represented in the industry is what makes it more difficult to find female role models to help guide women in their careers in construction. ABC Greater Houston has a committee dedicated to women, named Ladies Operating for Growth in Construction (LOGIC), and represents the interests of women within the construction industry and assists with increasing the quality and availability to women that will promote a positive image to other women within an outside the industry. On this committee, about 78 percent of these women are mothers.
“If you are a woman in the construction industry, being a part of the LOGIC Committee is a great opportunity for you to get involved with the association and the industry as a whole,” says Sara Bongard, Project Manager at SpawGlass Construction and Chair of the LOGIC Committee. “I am a mother of two small children, so being a part of ABC and the LOGIC Committee has been an incredible support and opportunity for me to network with fellow women who are in the same or similar situations as me, while also providing me with resources to grow and learn but also provide the same support needed by fellow women in the industry. It’s always so encouraging to be able to sit in a room of over 80 women and know I’m never alone.”
The LOGIC Committee was founded in 2019 at the Greater Houston Chapter, and is starting to plant roots in other ABC chapters across the nation.
To learn more about ABC and the LOGIC Committee, please visit www.abchouston.org
- Bowers, Katherine. Inside the Lives of Construction Moms. Working Mother. https://www.workingmother.com/workplace/inside-lives-construction-moms
- BigRentz, Inc. Women in Construction: The State of the Industry in 2021. https://www.bigrentz.com/blog/women-construction#:~:text=When%20you%20think%20of%20an,women%20comprise%20only%2010.3%20percent.
About ABC Greater Houston
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association representing more than 21,000 members nationwide. Locally, ABC Greater Houston was founded in 1969, and today serves several hundred commercial and industrial contractors, suppliers and construction associates in the Greater Houston area. Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston represents the interests of merit shop contractors and its employees in the policy making process of the government, protects and enhances the free enterprise system within the construction industry, and provides educational, marketing, and informational programs for the benefit of members and their employees.