Women in Construction Week is March 6-13! Join Us in Celebrating the Hard Working Ladies of the Solar Industry
Alex "Solar Girl" Steele
The second week of March 2021 is Women in Construction Week! This week is an annual period of awareness for women working in male-dominated building vocations. It was started after the success of the National Association of Women in Construction founded in 1953. Back then, there were even less women in the industry than there are now, and many of them worked in support roles instead of the job site. However, it quickly gained popularity as people around the country felt it was important for the ladies of construction sectors to be recognized for their hard work breaking into a field so densely populated by men. The first official Women in Construction Week was held in Texas in 1960, proclaimed by Mayor A.F Madison. Every year, folks throughout various hard trades observe the contributions of women in the field, and the unique struggles they face in the industry. Representation for women in hard trades is critical, because they are so often overlooked!
Women make up only about 9% of the construction industry, compared to a whopping 75% or more in other spaces like healthcare and education. While women make up 47% of our national labor force, only about 1.25% of all working women are in construction! Even less are on the front lines of construction sites. While about 2.5% of the ladies in the field take active roles in hard trades, a much larger portion are key players in office positions. 86.7% of the ladies in construction handle internal jobs like project management, materials procurement, and permitting, which are crucial for development. Despite the wide gap in female vs male personnel in the construction sector, women actually make more relative to their male colleagues in construction than they do in other industries, on average. While women earn an average of 81% of what men earn across all occupations in the United States, women in construction earn much more - on average, they make 99% of what men earn in the industry. It is interesting to note that in a field where we might expect women to face a lot of adversity, they are paid much more equally than other professions!
While there are many more men than women in the construction industry as a whole, the solar industry has a little more diversity than that. In our favorite green collar field, women make up approximately 26% of the United States’ solar industry workforce. As this is much lower than the total average for our nation’s labor force, we still have a lot of progress to make, but there’s no denying that women take up much more space in the solar industry than they do in other construction areas! In terms of pay, however, these numbers are not as promising. According to a 2019 report by The Solar Foundation, although women make 99% as much as men across all construction sectors on average, in the solar industry, they only make 74 cents on the dollar compared to men. This translates to a wage gap of approximately 26%, which is certainly something the industry needs to address! Although this large wage gap is absolutely an issue that needs to be confronted, it is also important to consider that the solar industry pays higher wages than a number of other industries in the country: the solar industry, on average, pays 28% more than the national median wage. Across the board, it is clear that women in the solar industry deserve higher pay - but they are still earning more on average than workers in many other sectors!
Women in the solar industry are still striving to earn more equal wages compared to their male counterparts, but this disparity in wages does not necessarily translate to a wide gap between men and women in decision-making roles. While only about 5.2% of C-Suite level executives across all industries in the United States are women, a much higher percentage of women hold C-level positions in the clean power field - 13% of C-Suite executive positions in the renewable energy sector worldwide are held by women! Likewise, there are more female C-level and executive board members in the United States’ energy sector than the national average across all sectors, and there are more female leaders in our nation’s energy sector than the global average! Even in the face of institutional challenges to their gender, ladies across the country are proving themselves with the credentials to take them to the top of the corporate ladder in the construction, energy, and renewables fields.
Throughout Women in Construction week, keep an eye out on our social media platforms to see us highlighting the ladies on our team who help drive our success. The presence of women in construction spaces is crucial for driving innovation, bringing more diversity into the field, and smashing the glass ceiling. We wouldn’t have the robust, successful construction firm that we do here at Solar Wolf Energy without the women on our team. In fact, when compared to statistics about women in the solar industry at the national level, we actually have many more women in key decision-making roles here at Solar Wolf than the industry as a whole! Their organization, perseverance, attention to detail and commitment to excellence is what keeps us smashing goals and eclipsing the competition year after year!
As our Founder and Chairman says:
"I’ll give you one of the key secrets to success. Have more women on your team. That’s it."