Mary Schrott
2 minute read

On International Women’s Day, USGBC recognizes the women advocating for healthier environments in our local USGBC communities. In 2018, these women helped states like Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington and New York achieve the highest levels of green building per capita and rank on USGBC’s annual Top 10 States for LEED list.

Advancing women, advancing sustainability

“Women have a key role to play in the advancement of green buildings and the fight against climate change,” said Sheri Brezinka, director of the West North Central USGBC region. “Although the female presence in the workplace is growing, women do not yet share equally in economic and political leadership. The green building movement is helping to change this.”

Research shows that the momentum in green building will continue to grow this industry in the coming years. For Brezinka, this growth means new business, technologies, services and opportunities for women to “take on a wide variety of leadership roles in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry.”

Female leadership promoting sustainability can lead to a higher quality of life, especially for those most affected by climate change. In states like New York, new legislation acknowledges how climate change is adversely affecting economic well-being, public health and natural resources in the state.

“The role of green buildings is trending toward a greater emphasis on enhancing human health,” said Tracie Hall, director of USGBC New York Upstate. “If a continued focus on human health motivates and empowers people to care of our Earth with even a fraction of the love and compassion [with which] a woman cares for her child, we will all contribute to making strides toward a more resilient world on a larger, global scale.”

Connecting to expand our sphere of influence

In states like Maryland and Virginia, USGBC community director Cindy Zork sees future leaders emerging from schools that nurture a sense of community through green building programs.

“Schools are increasingly engaging the student body in tracking ongoing building performance, which both provides critical data for our movement and also cultivates an army of climate advocates for our future,” said Zork. “If each of us is working to improve our small sphere of influence, this multiplies into a meaningful and impactful climate movement."

Leadership can be cultivated by anyone, at any age. For women in green building, we encourage integration into professional communities where this leadership can be found and exercised. Check out USGBC’s events page throughout the year for gatherings like “Women in Green,” for more opportunities to lead and learn.

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