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(Badass) Professional Women in Construction Engineering
By Sherry Holmes
Mike’s Advice / Sherry
Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 @ 2:38pm
Working in the trades can be a really amazing and satisfying career. Being a woman in the trades is even better! Sure, sometimes you have to work harder to prove you deserve the same trust and respect of others, but we get to break down the walls of sexism in the industry – and that’s so important.
I believe women and men can do the same things, and that we are all equals. I fight to encourage women to push and work hard to get the most out of themselves. Especially when it comes to working in the skilled trades industry, there are some (badass) women in construction.
Watching the Industry Shift
Over the years, I have seen a change in the trades, as well as the number of women, involved grow. When I first started, I was 21 years old, and one of the few women I knew involved in construction. In fact, I never saw any women on sites. It was definitely daunting.
I flew out to New Orleans to start my very first building project. Literally, all of the men on sites gave me funny looks. I was still learning on site, and having everyone else notice that I “didn’t belong” was terrifying! Once I got over my initial discomfort, I gave it everything I had to see what could come out of the experience.
Proving Myself (to Myself)
On that job site, I made sure to work as hard as I possibly could. When the men would go for a half hour break, I’d take half. When the site was a mess, and I had nothing else to do, I’d pick up a broom. I was on time every day, and always one of the last to leave. Sure, it was hard to learn all of the new tools, but so liberating at the same time.
By the end of that job, the men on site all offered me a job and tried to get me to leave my employer (my dad) to work with them. I don’t think I have ever been that proud of myself!
Working on the construction site with all of my crew has been some of the most amazing times I’ve ever had. The crew is really like my brothers. I love them all. The friendships I’ve made are lasting, and the experiences I’ve had, I’ll truly never forget.
Being a lady on a construction site shouldn’t ever be an issue. What truly matters is the ability to do the work – and I know tons of ladies who are up to the challenge!