By Lisa Killingsworth
While searching for pictures of women in construction to be used in a future brochure, I began noticing that the majority of the images I found on two professional stock photo sites, showed women modeling construction, rather than women working in construction. While these images are obviously the vision of the photographer, they revisit old stereotypes of women in construction.
These pictures depict them working in heels, wearing tight clothing and donning yellow hats and bright smiles. In contrast, images of men in construction show them actually doing work. For example, the men are demonstrated operating machinery, giving orders and supporting other construction workers.
Yes, photographers have captured images of women in construction that are enjoyable, fabulous, and even sexy, but the real reasons why women choose to work in construction are very different. Women join the skilled trades to make money, to feel proud of what they have accomplished, and to pursue their career interests. Women in construction know that working in heels is not feasible. They prefer loose clothing because it’s comfortable. Photographers would do us all a service if they recognized this, and helped to distance women from the “calendar girls” that were so prevalent in the past.
The messaging should be the same for both genders. Let’s make sure that we cater to the fact that both men and women have the same goals in mind when it comes to enhancing their futures and furthering their careers.
The Partnership for Diversity and Opportunity in Transportation consists of unions, businesses, and non-profit representatives, working collaboratively to enhance economic development within neighborhoods—which are directly impacted by major public works, and transportation construction projects—by creating community benefits, business growth, job training and other opportunities.
MiRoad2Work.org is one of our programs, designed as a “one-stop shop” for information about apprenticeships and apprenticeship readiness services.