Women can — and should — work in construction [Letter]

July 20, 2014

Thanks for the op-ed by Barbara A. Res about the dearth of women in the construction industry ("Construction: a boys club," July 13). We in the Tradeswomen movement have been beating our heads against the concrete wall of institutionalized sexism for 40 years now with little change. Before the Reagan administration undermined affirmative action, we were making some progress. The federal government had our backs then, with policies that encouraged our participation. It was understood that women needed to achieve a critical mass in the industry to overcome isolation and harassment. The culture remains hostile because our numbers remain so small. As a retired electrician and electrical inspector who made a great career in construction, I continue to advocate the building trades as a path out of poverty for women struggling to support families on pink and white collar wages. Women can do it and we have been doing these jobs now for decades.

Molly Martin, San Francisco, Calif.

The writer is a board member of Tradeswomen, Inc.

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