The Opportunity for Women in Fenestration

Laurie Cowin
March 6, 2019
THE TALK... | Strategies & Practices, Statistics

This week is the National Association of Women in Construction’s Women in Construction Week, an annual event the first week of March that aims to promote women as a viable component of the industry. Although women comprise about 47 percent of the total U.S. workforce, construction is made up of only 9 percent women, with just 3 percent being in the actual trades, according to NAWIC. Consider another statistic from a survey last year by the Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk: 81 percent of  construction firms indicate it will continue to be hard to fill craft positions. 

The remarkably low number of women in the trades paired with the remarkably high number of companies that struggle to fill trade positions adds up to what I see as an enormous opportunity for women in construction. Women are a largely untapped demographic that the construction side of the industry can specifically recruit, and not only to help ease the labor shortage. Women’s value in leadership is quantifiable, too.
 
A 2018 McKinsey & Company study about diversity found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive team were 21 percent more likely to have above-average profitability. Despite this clear evidence, a poll Window & Door conducted last year that showed women are still the minority in management and executive positions. The 148 respondents indicated that woman-occupied positions in their companies were: 13 percent owners/CEOs, 6 percent in management and 6 percent in upper management.
 
No matter the role they occupy, women are vital contributors to the construction industry and certainly to fenestration specifically. In the spirit of Women in Construction Week, we want to recognize the achievements of women in our industry. Whether industry veterans or up-and-coming professionals, we want to hear about and from them to learn how they found fenestration and how they plan to continue to impact this important part of the construction industry. Please send me an email at lcowin@glass.org or call me at 703/442-4890, ext. 188 if you have a story to contribute about women who have impacted fenestration.
 
 
Laurie Cowin is senior editor of Window & Door. Contact her at lcowin@glass.org.