The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) reports that 9.9% of the construction workforce is female. As a result, women are provided with fewer opportunities than their male counterparts.
Although the number of women in construction is slowly increasing, females still face an abundance of barriers working in a male-dominated career and S. M. Wilson is taking heed. Knowing that only a small portion of the industry is female, S. M. Wilson created Wilson Women, a program to provide camaraderie and support to the women in their firm.
Established in fall 2019, Wilson Women’s mission is to “bring together the women of our company for relationship building, community service, mentorship, networking and learning opportunities.” The multi-faceted program meets quarterly and hosts a variety of events including external speakers, internal discussions and team-building activities. In addition, Wilson Women supports external endeavors including professional development opportunities and networking events.
“Being a woman in an industry predominantly and historically pursued by men does not have to be the incredible struggle it was decades ago. Fortunately, women have pioneered their way into most construction-related careers. I’m proud to serve as President of a company where females make up 30% of our employees and 18% of our leadership positions,” says S. M. Wilson President, Amy Berg.
Upon pursuing a career in construction, females are faced with a number of challenges including fewer role models, discrimination, pay gap and lack of work-life balance. Through Wilson Women, the company will ensure a workplace where women are engaged, valued and supported in their personal wellness, community involvement and professional advancement.
“The industry as a whole still has a long way to go, but thanks to programs like Wilson Women, we are doing our part to challenge stereotypical norms, provide more resources that empower women and set them up for a successful career in construction,” says Berg.
In addition to the company’s 37 female employees, the program is also supported by S. M. Wilson’s male associates. All employees are encouraged to participate and contribute to group discussions and events which include a range of topics from unconscious gender bias to leadership training.
Since its launch, the program has come together on two separate occasions to discuss strengths and areas of improvement for the company from a woman’s perspective, as well as discussing the challenges that need to be addressed outside of the organization. Many have also attended external networking and training sessions including the St. Louis Business Journal’s Women Conference, St. Louis Women in Science, Entrepreneurship & Research (WISER) Conference and more with no signs of slowing down.
“S. M. Wilson realizes the importance of promoting and providing more opportunities to the females in our company. We hope that through programs like Wilson Women we can raise awareness, educate and support the women in construction to make the industry more accessible for all,” says Berg.