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Another Step in Promoting Female Empowerment with the National Association of Women in Construction

By Kelly Church

In an era determined to promote female empowerment, few industries are untouched- including construction. The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is a Fort Worth, TX group focused on providing women in the construction industry support, professional development, training opportunities and more.

Founded in 1953 by a group of sixteen women who recognized the small population of women that represented the construction industry, the group was originally called Women in Construction of Fort Worth. Now, NAWIC has chapters all over the country, from the northeast to the pacific southwest. Autumn Daughetee, Communications Director for NAWIC, says the group comes with a strong purpose and has delivered on their promise to offer security for women in construction.

"The construction industry is heavily dominated by men," Daughetee says. "Women make up only roughly 10 percent of the entire industry. If you're talking about the trades, the percentage of women drops to two to three percent. NAWIC provides support and fellowship to women in the construction industry. It gives them a safe place to discuss the issues that affect their careers, develop their leadership skills, network and learn."

At its core, the NAWIC's purpose is to "enhance the success of women in construction." Daughetee says that when NAWIC was born in the 1950s, it filled a void for women in the construction industry. They allow women in the industry to network with one another and advance their careers.

The NAWIC has also expanded their reach to include educational services, even reaching out to high school students who are interested in careers in architecture, construction or engineering. Their educational programs, under the umbrella of NAWIC's Education Foundation, which has a 501c2 status, offer certifications and an always-evolving environment to keep up with changes in the industry.

The NAWIC also acts as an advocacy group for their female members. They have a partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in effort to promote female workplace safety on jobsites. This includes protective equipment that is designed to properly fit a woman's figure, ensuring maximum security in the field. They also work to provide access to proper sanitation facilities on construction sites.

"[Our] offerings and opportunities are always evolving to keep up wth the needs of our members," Daughetee says. "For many of our early members, NAWI meetings were the only professional space where they weren't the only woman in the room."

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