In conjunction with National Women’s History Month and Women in Construction Week, MassDOT celebrates its own team of women in the industry. From top management to laborer, women are embedded in MassDOT’s construction work every day.
According to OSHA, the number of women working in the United States construction industry increased by 81.3% from 1985 to 2007. Yet the construction industry still has one of the most male-dominated workforces in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2014 that only 872,000 (8.9%) of the 9.8 million people working in the industry were women. Less than 3% of production workers, such as laborers, are women. Although construction is usually considered a nontraditional occupation for women, they have actually been active in the construction and building industry for centuries. Some of the earliest written and graphic accounts of women working in construction as laborers, suppliers and tradespeople date back to 13th century Spain.
A lot of progress has been made since then. Women now play a role in all aspects of the industry, including managers, engineers, loader operators, and bricklayers. MassDOT’s Route 79/Braga Bridge Improvements Project features women involved at all levels. Stephanie Pollack is MassDOT’s first female Secretary; Patricia Leavenworth is MassDOT Highway Division’s first female Chief Highway Engineer; Mary-Joe Perry is the District 5 Highway Director; and Amy Getchell serves as the Project Manager and Acting Operations Engineer for District 5. Women engineers are leading the charge on the design side of the project, and women work for Barletta Heavy/O&G Joint Venture in jobs ranging from iron worker to equipment operator to laborer and office personnel. In all, there are more than 50 women from MassDOT and its contractor’s team who work on the Route 79/Braga Bridge Improvements Project.
The National Association of Women in Construction honors Women in Construction from March 6 through 12. MassDOT is proud to continue the tradition of recognizing the achievements of these women who break ground and serve Massachusetts communities.
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