Written by Julie Dalton
In 2014, Always championed the “Like a Girl” campaign where young men/women were asked to demonstrate how you would run, fight, or throw like a girl. Perhaps not surprisingly, arms flailed dramatically and bodies pranced. When younger girls were asked to run like a girl, they ran their butts off and fought hard – no flailing or prancing. Why? It turns out that the way post-pubescent girls see themselves or are seen is far different than how pre-pubescent girls – free from stereotypes and gender gaps – see themselves. When called out for the flailing and prancing, the guilty parties realized how wrong they were to believe that “like a girl” meant flailing and prancing.
It turns out there are only 9% of women in the construction industry – a percentage that is growing, but still sits far too low; ours is one of the most male-dominated. Let’s be honest: being the only girl in a shop class isn’t very much fun and can discourage a girl from continuing down the construction path, yet we all know that a career in construction isn’t just about what we learned in shop class. Construction includes design, organization, communication, engineering, methodology, and integrity – things that females do just as well as males.
I remember years ago during Mass at my church, our pastor was asked why girls aren’t priests. He answered “well, to be honest, the only reason is because Rome is slow to change. Girls are just as capable to lead a Mass as boys are.” That brilliant answer drew a round of applause. In construction, girls are just as capable to manage a project, to understand the complexities of design, to build a team, to problem-solve, and to work with others to build something great. There is no reason there aren’t more girls in construction.
The lack of mentorship for women is one of the challenges we face in our industry. We all need someone to look up to – someone who looks like us, talks like us, thinks like us. Someone to show the way. To all the women reading this: let’s inspire the next wave of females in that shop class. Let’s show that being like a girl doesn’t preclude you from construction. To all the men reading this: think of the strong, capable girls in your lives – daughters, nieces, sisters – who are just as capable of this industry as you are.
Women have a proven record of building: we build families, we build friendships, we build schools, we build communities. So, of course, we can build ANYTHING! Like the young girl in the Always campaign who said that to run like a girl means “to run as fast as you can,” let’s show that building like a girl means the exact same thing as building like a boy: successfully.
I’m excited to join PRO New England at their Youth In Remodeling day on October 18th where I’ll be gathering a group of women ready to show the next generation of girls what it looks like to be “like a girl”…in construction.
Julie Dalton has been the Marketing Manager at Platt Builders since 2020 and is always a champion for what girls can do.