Oregon Tradeswomen helps transform lives by building community and economic independence through empowerment, training, career education, advocacy, and leadership development in the skilled trades.

The construction industry employs around 11.8 million people as of 2022, with trillions of federal dollars from recent legislation powering years of future job growth. In theory it should represent an opportunity for many Americans to move into the middle class. Most trades offer paid training through apprenticeships and don’t require a college degree. They also typically come with salaries much higher than the minimum wage.

There is also a shortage of workers, leaving money on the table for companies that can’t fill contracts fast enough. As of 2021, 89 percent of contractors were having a hard time finding workers, according to the Associated General Contractors of America, an association for the construction industry.

And yet: “This is an industry where we still have folks saying, ‘We just don’t hire women,’” Charlotte Burrows, Chair of the EEOC.
When women did get hired, harassment often drove them out, impacting their ability to earn better wages.

“When we talk about the gender pay gap, it’s not just I’m going to pay you less in dollars and cents but also, what happens to your paycheck when you have to leave a job or an industry because you can’t take the harassment?” Burrows said.

Follow this link to learn more about this important issue and to hear some insights from Oregon Tradeswomen interim ED and founding member, Donna Hammond.