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What Will It Take to Boost the Number of Women in the Skilled Trades?

Women in Construction

What Will It Take to Boost the Number of Women in the Skilled Trades?

Stigma and sexism are keeping the number of women in the skilled trades from growing

March 2, 2023
Woman skilled tradesperson on jobsite framing house with pneumatic nailer
Image: Tyler Olson / stock.adobe.com

March 5-11 marks the 25th anniversary of Women in Construction week, but the barriers and biases women face in the construction industry in North America are still significant. It's estimated that by 2025, 20% of all jobs in North America will be in the skilled trades sector, yet women remain an untapped resource to help fill the ongoing labor shortage, with less than 4% of all skilled trades professionals in the U.S. being women and 7% in Canada. 

HGTV host and author Mandy Rennehan has spent almost 30 years advocating for women in the skilled trades and has a unique perspective on the changes needed to recruit more women and help them succeed in the construction industry.

I travel the world speaking to people about the wealth of opportunities available to them in the skilled trades. Everywhere I go, I encounter women who are excited and eager to join the field. The problem is not that women don’t want to be in this industry. The problem is we aren’t doing enough to ensure their safety and success while they’re in it.

We’ve come a long way since I was a young woman in construction, and for the most part my experience in the field has been positive. But the barriers and biases women face are persistent, and can present themselves in many ways. 

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