Feb. 16, 2021 - 6 Reasons Why Women Should Consider the Construction Industry

6 Reasons Why Women Should Consider the Construction Industry

Why are so few women entering, and then staying, in the construction industry? One reason is that it’s a male-dominated industry; another is the lack of role models to look up to. But I have a third reason in mind: the lack of awareness of how interesting, challenging, multidisciplinary, and sometimes unexpected, this industry is! In this article, I briefly discuss 6 reason why women should consider entering the construction industry, based on my own experience… because what started for me as a mean to earn a living became much more than that throughout the years I spent working on or around construction projects!

1 - Creating Something Useful

What first attracted me to the construction industry was that the “final product” was visible, practical, often necessary for our lifestyle, and in many cases used on a daily basis - think housing, infrastructure, public transport, energy production, manufacturing, education, health centers, etc. Construction is everywhere at every stage of our lives, and has been since our ancestors developed the ability to create.

2 - Different Stages

My experience is mostly in the construction stage and in the years following completion. But there is also a huge involvement required before any work can start on site, from developing the idea to finding an appropriate location, obtaining approval, assessing impact on the environment, etc.

Even during the actual construction, there are different stages: detailed design, procurement, working on the foundations require very different expertise then installing the electrical systems. Then comes the completion stage, making sure that even small tasks are completed, that everything works, but also that everyone has been paid.

And finally there is the “after” completion stage, with its own specialized works such as maintenance, refurbishment, change of use, and many more activities linked to how the project is used and eventually demolished.

3 - Working On or Off Site

For me, when I started studying construction, a career in construction meant working either in a design office or on a construction site. But the working on or off site options are not so definitive. There is working on the actual construction site, in the site offices, in an office set-up in a nearby city just for the project, in the head office or in a consultant office – sometimes switching between these locations depending on the stage of the project or the job, sometimes living at home, in a rented place for a few months, in hotels or in camp.

4 - Wide Range of Professions

I also thought that working in construction meant being an architect, an engineer or a designer. But my views evolved as I was progressing in my studies and then in my career. I discovered project management while studying in the UK (it wasn’t a common profession in France at the time). Working on a fiber optic network project in France, I discovered the importance of scheduling and that it could be another profession. Later on came the discovery of delay and costs analysis, and then contract management. And I hope to have more opportunities to discover and practice other areas of expertise.

But there are many more professions in the construction industry, some I have met and worked with, others that I know of but haven’t yet had the opportunity to work with, and probably a few I don’t even know of!

Let’s think about it: construction projects require that someone think about building that project, which then needs to be planned, engineered / designed, financed - sometimes for years before the works even start… Impact analysis on the environment (natural, social, existing infrastructure) need to be done. The construction works require engineers, project managers, suppliers, trade people, but also planning, finance, legal, health and safety professionals… Then, after completion, comes the need for maintenance, refurbishment, change of use, safe demolition. And many more…

5 - International Opportunities

From a very young age, I dreamed of living and working in different countries. I put that dream aside when I was studying construction in France, but the dream started to come back once I got the opportunity to carry on my studies in the UK. This was my first step toward an international experience – from my first job working for a British company in France to now working for an international consulting firm in Canada. And in between, working in different European countries, sometimes on projects in another country, and learning another language…

How to get into the “international” world? Some means include studying in another country / language, working for an international company, moving to another country, becoming one of few with both technical and language knowledge, or specializing in a very specific expertise (such as commissioning engineer for power plant equipment)…

6 - Cultural Diversity

The last reason, but not least, I want to list here, is how diverse this industry can be. I have been lucky to mostly work in international environment with teams members coming from many different places in the world, either having settled for a while where I was, or passing by because of their involvement in the project.

However, I’m fully aware that this is not the case on all project or offices, and that there is a lot to do to have a much more diverse workforce in this industry.


If you’re a woman considering the construction industry, don’t let the male-dominated environment and the lack of role models discourage you from joining and discovering what it can offer. Of course, you’ll have to work hard, you’ll make mistakes, you’ll wonder if you should go for new responsibilities or choose an easier path… but this is the same in any other industries! Also, remember: if someone wants to “pick” on you, they’ll find a “reason”, be it gender, appearance, etc. And again, it can happen in any other industry…

In my opinion, a woman should not let the potential inappropriate attitude of a few from stopping her from choosing her path! I know it’s easier said than done, and it very much depends on one’s own experience. My experience in this industry showed me that it has a lot to offer, even if there is still a lot to do to make it more open to Diversity!