When you think of women in industrial services, what first comes to mind? Some may think back to World War II with Rosie the Riveter, others may find it hard to ponder a woman’s place in a male-dominated industry.
Most may not know that women have occupied this space for centuries. It is not generally a subject taught within a school system, and most definitely not coined as common knowledge. So today, we would love to bring this history to light.
Women in Construction and Skilled Trades can be traced back as far as the 13th-17th centuries in England, France, Germany, and Spain. The earliest written record dates to 13th-century Spain in the Kingdom of Navarre.
Within this community, women in Skilled Trades were often middle-class citizens. They primarily focused on masonry and carpentry, which was taught to them by their fathers and grandfathers. Lower-class women were more than likely working as day laborers on stone and wood structures.
This history is presumably overlooked by the fact that it was socially unacceptable to keep a record of women as wage-earning workers. In most cases, they were left off the record entirely or listed only by gender with no role specified.
Today, women in trades are on the rise. During the last five years, numbers increased by almost one-third (32.1%). Research shows that various professional associations as well as non-profit organizations highly encourage women to enter Construction and Engineering.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that women can carry on this long and rich tradition that their ancestors created for them. Recent data proves the importance of continuing to elevate and encourage women to enter the skilled trades industry.
“A woman’s place is wherever she wants it to be, even in the cab of a 40-ton bulldozer.”
- Debbie Dickinson, CEO of Crane Industry Services (CIS)