Today marks the beginning of National Women in Construction Week. While we regularly celebrate the contributions of all our employees, this is a special time of year where we focus on the measurable difference the women of McKinstry are making in the construction industry—and beyond. It’s not just women in hardhats and work boots, but women who work in all facets of the built environment—from engineering, sales and facility operations to human resources, accounting and technology.
This week, we also commemorate International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8. This day not only celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but it marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Historically, the construction industry has lagged others in the hiring and advancement of women. We know, for example, that women make up only about 9 percent of the construction industry in the United States. However, at McKinstry, women represent almost 30 percent of our professional staff and 15 percent of our tradespeople. The success of our company is due in no small part to each of us working diligently to create an inclusive environment where all people can learn and thrive. More equitable gender representation in the industry is not about numbers or compliance. It is about building a high-caliber workforce that leverages exceptional talent in all forms, making our industry, and our company, stronger.
Last August, I shared our commitment to hiring people who are underrepresented in the construction industry, such as women, people of different races and ethnicities, ages and sexual orientation. To help us discover the best and most valuable actions each of us can take on a daily basis to increase our diversity and foster inclusiveness, we recently asked Ashley Ruiz to serve as Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations. Ashley has been with McKinstry for seven years managing our powerED program. Her educational background in gender and women’s studies and her lifelong work to empower underrepresented groups make her a perfect fit for helping McKinstry take positive practical actions to foster an inclusive workplace.
We look forward to sharing with you the stories of just a few of the women who make McKinstry great. Their stories of career growth, community engagement, innovation and leadership are truly inspirational! As we celebrate this week, I encourage everyone in construction to reflect on the contributions of women in our industry and commit to doing your part to build the strong future that comes from a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Cheryl Di Re is McKinstry’s Chief Administrative Officer.