We were recently watching a YouTube video that documented the first flight by Aer Lingus from Dublin, Ireland to Los Angeles International Airport. The flight was conducted on a new Boeing aircraft, and the cinematography was stunning as the airplane crossed the Atlantic Ocean into the continental United States. In addition to being the first Aer Lingus flight on that route, it was also a flight crew that was comprised entirely of women. We wondered what the analogy would be for the construction industry. What is construction's equivalent of an all-woman flight crew for a long-haul airline route?
Historically, construction and the airlines have both been predominantly male industries. While both sectors have gained ground on the issue of equality in recent years, the numbers are far from equitable. For example, CBS This Morning recently reported that the number of women licensed to fly an airliner grew substantially from 2010 to 2014. Still, they only make up a measly 4% of total licensed airline pilots. Similarly, according to a 2014 USA Today article, of the 7.1 million Americans employed in the construction sector, only 2.6% were women. The article also reported, however, that new programs aimed at recruiting women as well as ensuring them a workplace free of harassment are springing up around the country. In fact, June's Groundbreaking Women in Construction conference in San Francisco brought together women from across the sector to address these and other issues facing women in the industry.
Given current ratios, it's clearly possible to staff a flight with a female crew, but it would not be feasible to staff an entire construction project with only women. However, it would be possible to staff a project with only female project management staff for the general contractor under the leadership of a female project executive. PlanGrid, for example, currently employs a number of women in various roles who come from diverse construction backgrounds, from project managers to industrial engineers. Their stories, like those of the female pilots interviewed by CBS, are stories of fortitude and grace in an often adverse environment. What more could you want from a construction team?
We think the construction industry would benefit from the type of visibility demonstrated by the Aer Lingus flight. Please forward this article to all of the construction executives you know so we can bring more visibility to this very important issue.
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