November 2, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Boston, MA – Massachusetts has become one of the leaders at employing women in the nearly all-male building trades. In 2015, women filled more than 6% of apprentice positions in the state, a 50% increase from 2012.
Women also did 5% of the total construction work hours in the city of Boston, well above the national average of less than 3%, and the number of hours worked by women on jobs that require hiring Boston residents was 10 times what it was five years earlier. Much of this is the result of efforts by the Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues, founded in 2008 by Susan Moir, director of research for the University of Massachusetts at Boston’s Labor Resource Center, and Elizabeth Skidmore of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. The group brings together local construction companies, unions, developers, community organizations, schools, and government agencies, putting “the right people in the room to change the numbers,” Moir says. “PGTI is helping because they’ve been persistent,” electrician Shara Noldseiro told the Boston Globe. “They’re persistent and they’re passionate. They’re saying, ‘Women deserve these opportunities,’ and not backing down.” Read more