Many people are curious about gender diversity in traditionally male-dominated industries, and construction is often at the forefront of these discussions. Understanding the representation of women in this field can provide insights into workplace equality and industry trends. So, how many women work in construction?

According to the most recent data in 2024, women make up approximately 10.9% of the construction workforce in the United States, translating to over 1.28 million women working in the industry. This percentage has seen a gradual increase from previous years, reflecting a growing presence of women in this traditionally male-dominated field¹.

While this statistic provides a clear answer to the initial question, it’s worth delving deeper into the topic. The percentage of women in construction has been slowly increasing over the years, and there are various factors contributing to this trend. By continuing to read, you’ll gain a more comprehensive understanding of women’s roles in construction, the challenges they face, and the initiatives aimed at increasing their participation in the industry.

 

Gender Distribution in U.S. Construction Workforce (2024)

Women

Percentage: 10.9%

Count: 1.28 million

Men

Percentage: 89.1%

Count: 10.46 million

Data represents the gender distribution in the U.S. construction workforce as of 2024.


What Roles Do Women Typically Hold In The Construction Industry?

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports women make up about 10.9% of the construction workforce, their representation varies across different roles within the industry. Women are more commonly found in office-based positions such as project management, architecture, and engineering. In fact, women comprise about approximately 72% of office roles in construction companies.

However, women are still underrepresented in on-site construction jobs. Only about 4% of workers in hands-on construction trades are women. This includes roles such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and heavy equipment operators. Despite the low numbers, there has been a gradual increase in women taking on these roles in recent years.

It’s also worth noting that women are making strides in leadership positions within the construction industry. More women are becoming construction company owners, executives, and project leaders, bringing diverse perspectives to decision-making processes.

What Are The Challenges Women Face In The Construction Industry?

Women in construction face several challenges in the industry. One notable issue is the traditional perception of construction as a male-dominated field. This perception can influence hiring practices and workplace dynamics.

Another practical concern is the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to fit women’s body types. Many construction sites primarily stock PPE sized for men, which may not fit women properly, potentially affecting safety.

The construction industry often involves long hours and rigid schedules, which can present difficulties for workers with caregiving responsibilities outside of work.

Both men and women in construction report experiencing harassment or discrimination on job sites — experiences that are backed up by reports conducted by OSHA. Many companies are implementing policies and programs to address these concerns.

What Initiatives Are In Place To Increase Women’s Participation In Construction?

Recognizing the benefits of a diverse workforce, many organizations are implementing initiatives to attract and retain more women in construction. One approach is through education and outreach programs targeting young women and girls. These programs aim to spark interest in construction careers from an early age and challenge stereotypes about who can work in the industry.

Mentorship programs are another important initiative. Many construction companies and industry associations have established mentorship schemes that pair experienced women in construction with newcomers, providing guidance and support as they navigate their careers.

There’s also a growing focus on creating more inclusive workplace cultures. This includes implementing strict anti-harassment policies, providing diversity and inclusion training, and ensuring equal opportunities for advancement.

Lastly, some companies are addressing practical issues by providing women-specific PPE and implementing more flexible work arrangements. These changes make the construction industry more accessible and appealing to a wider range of potential employees, including women.

How Does The Percentage Of Women In Construction Compare To Other Industries?

When comparing the construction industry to other sectors, it becomes clear that women are still significantly underrepresented in this field. While women make up about 47% of the overall U.S. workforce, they only account for 10.9% of the construction industry. This places construction among the industries with the lowest representation of women.

In contrast, industries such as education and health services have a much higher percentage of women. Even in other traditionally male-dominated fields like manufacturing and transportation, women make up a larger proportion of the workforce than in construction, at about 30% and 24% respectively, according to some sources.

However, it’s important to note that the percentage of women in construction has been slowly but steadily increasing over the past few decades. In 2010, women made up 8.9% of the construction labor force in the United States.

What Are The Benefits Of Increasing Women’s Participation In Construction?

Increasing the number of women in construction can bring numerous benefits to the industry and society as a whole. One of the most significant advantages is addressing the skilled labor shortage that the construction industry has been facing. By tapping into a wider talent pool, companies can fill crucial roles and meet the growing demand for construction projects.

Diversity in the workforce also leads to increased innovation and problem-solving capabilities. Women often bring different perspectives and approaches to construction projects, which can result in more creative solutions and improved project outcomes. Studies have shown that diverse teams tend to outperform homogeneous ones in various industries, including construction.

Moreover, increased female participation can help improve workplace culture. A more balanced gender representation often leads to more inclusive and respectful work environments, benefiting all employees regardless of gender. This can result in higher job satisfaction, increased productivity, and lower turnover rates.

From an economic standpoint, increasing women’s participation in construction can contribute to narrowing the gender pay gap. Construction jobs often offer competitive salaries and benefits, especially compared to traditionally female-dominated industries. As more women enter these well-paying roles, it can help reduce overall income disparities between men and women.

Lastly, having more women in visible construction roles can help break down stereotypes and inspire future generations of girls to consider careers in this field. This creates a positive feedback loop, gradually increasing female representation in the industry over time.

Moving Forward in Construction

Here at Ganneston Construction, we’re a woman-owned general contractor in Maine. Under Stacey Morrison’s ownership since 2001, we have become a trusted commercial general contractor offering services like design build construction, general contracting services, construction management, and more.

Ganneston promotes diversity through its leadership team, which includes several women in key positions. The firm prioritizes competence and teamwork, creating an inclusive environment that values skills over gender. By offering good career opportunities and profit-sharing, Ganneston addresses industry challenges like work-life balance and career advancement. 

As a successful woman-owned business, Ganneston is helping reshape the construction industry’s landscape by serving as a high-quality, trusted commercial construction partner throughout New England.

How Can We Help Make Your Project A Success?