As someone who has always connected more easily with men, I never anticipated appreciating female camaraderie like I do now. I always thought women were too much drama and catty - high maintenance and emotional. Nothing around women seemed relaxed, it was just easier to be around men. And then I had the opportunity to meet more women business owners in the construction industry and realized, it wasn't a "female" thing, it was a "wrong females" thing that was the issue.
I find this to be an exciting time! I have been in the construction industry for almost 30 years and I'm seeing more change in the most recent five years than I have in the preceding 25.
The construction industry has seen an increase in the number of women breaking through traditional gender barriers and stepping into non traditional roles. They're taking it even a step further by starting their own business in male "populated" spaces.
As this trend continues, the need for community support becomes increasingly important. In this blog, we will explore the reasons why women in construction & trades thrive when surrounded by a supportive community.
1. Breaking Stereotypes
Stereotypes about the construction industry are strong. Not only do they exist outside the industry, they even exist within the industry. A lot of people inside believe the stereotypes to be true and are proud to reinforce them.
So as you can imagine, when you are breaking down these beliefs from the outside AND the inside - it is a wee bit more challenging. However, doing so is the foundational step toward building an inclusive environment.
Supportive communities help to expose common misconceptions, playing a crucial role in breaking barriers impeding the progress of women in this industry. By challenging these preconceived notions, these communities pave the way for an industry that values competence and skill over gender biases.
2. Skill Enhancement through Mentorship and Sponsorship
Mentorship shows women in these fields how to be successful by providing the guidance of experienced mentors within their supportive communities. These mentorship programs act as career or business acceleration tools, providing a clear roadmap for success within the industry.
Sponsorship, on the other hand is a powerful catalyst for skill development in the construction industry. Sponsorship helps not only sharpen skills, it also provides access to opportunities and/or advocates for business or career advancement.
Being part of a community with a wide range of experience, knowledge and expertise, where the members act as mentors and sponsors, helps to support the growth and advancement of women at all levels of the industry.
3. Fostering Confidence and Self-Esteem
The profound impact of a supportive community on the confidence and self-esteem of women in the construction industry cannot be overstated. Through shared experiences and collective support, women gain the resilience required to overcome challenges, fostering a positive and empowering environment. This boost in confidence is instrumental in creating an industry that is not only competent, it is also self-assured.
Borrowing the confidence from other community members helps to keep moving you forward, you no longer have to figure it all out on your own. And doing so, borrowing that confidence, gives you the opportunity to build your own. You don't have to feel the struggle everyday, not knowing what to do because there are always others around you to guide, support and clarify the path you are traveling.
4. Networking Opportunities
Networking is a foundational aspect of business development, especially in the construction industry. Supportive communities actively recognize the importance of fostering connections and providing valuable networking opportunities. These connections, established within a supportive community, become instrumental in opening doors to business opportunities, collaborations, and a broader professional network.
5. Work-Life Integration Advocacy
By the nature of our typical roles, women can not separate life and work. I think even expecting for us to do so sets us up for frustration and failure. I like to think more about work-life integration or work-life harmony - understanding there is an ebb and flow to what needs our time and learning to integrate the two is the best way to find peace in our days. It also helps to manage expectations.
Having a supportive communities plays a proactive role in addressing these challenges. By advocating for work-life integration initiatives, these communities contribute to increased satisfaction in business and life. The pragmatic approach toward work-life integration acknowledges the holistic needs of individuals, fostering a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.
6. Mental Health and Well-being
High-stress environments can have a detrimental impact on mental health. Supportive communities acknowledge this challenge and play a vital role in promoting mental well-being.
By fostering an environment where individuals feel heard and supported - understood - they contribute to the overall health of women, addressing the often-overlooked aspect of mental health challenges in business.
7. Economic Empowerment
Thriving in business translates directly to economic empowerment for women, and supportive communities play a pivotal role in facilitating this empowerment. They actively contribute to the growth, by supporting , answering questions and guiding through challenges and uncertainty.
In turn, contributing to the overall economic success of women in the business. Economic empowerment through thriving in business not only benefits individual women but also contributes to a more equitable and robust industry as a whole.
Let's Thrive Together!
Supportive communities significantly enhance the journey of women in business in the construction industry by breaking stereotypes, fostering confidence, providing networking opportunities, advocating for work-life integration, and addressing mental health challenges.
As the industry evolves, it's important to encourage women to actively seek and build communities within their environment for a more fulfilling business life. Embracing collaboration not only benefits individual women but also strengthens the industry as a whole, creating a dynamic, innovative, and empowered community.
I am so incredibly grateful for the Elite Warrior Women community I started. It has attracted some powerful, incredible women putting in the work and building successful businesses with the support of others. Having access to the range of knowledge, experience and expertise that exists in this group, is second to none.
Ready to thrive in your construction business? Join Elite Warrior Women—a supportive, collaborative group of women business owners and leaders in the construction industry. Experience the empowerment that comes from a community dedicated to your success. Don't navigate the challenges alone; find your community with Elite Warrior Women. Take the first step—join today!