How to Bring More Women Into Construction—and Why They Can Strengthen the Industry

Emphasizing the family centered nature of many companies and making space for networking opportunities can help to increase the participation of women, especially Latinas.

Amparo Sancen, CEO

June 6, 2024

3 Min Read
Young woman in high-vis vest smiling on a construction site with other team members
Nicaraguan/Alamy Stock Photo

Women represent only about 10% of the construction workforce in the United States, according to the most recent data. Among other things, this percentage reflects the challenges women face entering a field that is dominated by men and can often seem intimidating to newcomers. But as an industry, there are simple things we can do to encourage more women to get into the field we love and ensure they rise into leadership roles.  

When I first entered the construction industry—transitioning from a nursing profession in which I worked with primarily women—I found myself surrounded by men. However, over time, I have witnessed and welcomed the growing presence of women in this industry at all levels, from apprentices to project managers to company owners.  

While we have seen an increase in Latina representation as well, Latinas in leadership roles remain scarce. Nevertheless, the overall rise of women in leadership positions signals a promising shift. To encourage more women to join the construction industry and pursue leadership opportunities, we must be intentional. 

The intelligence and capabilities of women are invaluable to the workforce. We possess incredible memories, attention to detail and problem-solving abilities, among many other strengths unique to each person. This is something that has been lacking in the construction industry for far too long, as emphasis is often placed on simply getting the job done and moving on to the next. When you add the strengths of women to traditionally male-dominated fields, incredible things can happen, and industries can flourish. 

So, how can we encourage more women, especially Latinas, to join the construction industry? 

1 | Emphasize the family-centered nature of construction businesses. 

I advise business owners to involve their spouses and children in their companies. For the Hispanic population, doing so is a cultural norm and often the case in their companies. 

Additionally, many women who attend my events for the roofing industry are there to support their husbands and the family business. When speaking with the men, I encourage them to extend similar support to their wives and to determine how their valuable skills and insights can contribute to the business. I have seen many women leave their full-time jobs to pursue careers in roofing—whether working with their families or in a different specialty—because they realize that construction is not solely a man's domain and can be a successful family affair. 

2 | Expand networking opportunities for women. 

Networking at events and engaging with women in the industry is crucial if we want to encourage more women to work in construction. Women understand other women, sometimes in ways that men do not, so creating spaces for us to interact and to share insights into what the industry is like for us helps other women understand that there is space for them, too.   

These networking events can be simple lunch and learns or can be organized at a higher level at industry events. Regardless of the setting, what matters most is making the time and putting in the effort to share our experiences with other women in the industry or those who may be considering joining it. 

3 | Foster respect and inclusivity as company values. 

Setting standards of respect and support within the workplace is vital to the success of all employees. While some women may need additional assistance with physical tasks, this should not be viewed as a disadvantage. Team members should be reminded that by helping their colleagues, they are building a supportive environment where everyone can thrive and use their unique skills to bring about success for the business.  

By creating inclusive environments, providing support and fostering respect, we can empower more Latina women to join and excel in the construction industry.  

About the Author(s)

Amparo Sancen

CEO, Latinos En Roofing

Amparo Sancen is CEO and founder of Latinos En Roofing. She founded Sancen Contracting in 2006 and relaunched the company in 2018, after a period of working as a subcontractor and gaining as much knowledge as possible about running a successful construction company. Sancen launched Latinos En Roofing when she saw the hunger for learning in her community.

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