The Women in Construction conference, after a sellout launch in London, is making its debut in the United States. The Women in Construction USA conference will attract up to 500 attendees, with 50 speakers sparking critical discussions on what it means to be a woman working in the construction industry. Representatives from USGBC Platinum members, including Jacobs, Skanska, Turner Construction, Gilbane, AECOM and WSP will take the stage in San Francisco, California.
When: Sept. 18–19
Where: Hyatt Regency San Francisco
Preeti Parthasarathy, LEED AP and project manager at Jacobs, gave USGBC a preview of her session, “Spotting and Calling Out Microaggressions” ahead of the conference.
Why did you decide to focus your session on the issue of microaggressions?
Microaggressions are so prevalent on a daily basis that sometimes we don’t even recognize being in the midst of [them]. In this day and age, it’s important to understand the diversity and inclusivity that comes with our day-to-day lives. Acknowledging one’s biases and working toward creating a well-balanced workplace should be each and every person’s responsibility. As much as we are human, we owe it to one another to be respectful of our differences and promote unity in diversity.
From your perspective, why is it important to support women in this field?
With every field around us seeing women shattering the glass ceiling, the construction industry is no different. It has been proven time and again that a society that uplifts its women is one that yields benefits for all of its people for a lifetime. Construction forms the very basic building blocks of such a society. Growing up in India, daily wage laborers working at any given construction site were equally split as men and women, and this memory continues to inspire me even to this day.
What trends do you see with regard to women working in construction?
A lot of women in construction are looking at technology to see how they can make their sites more productive and their teams more accountable, in terms of budget and schedule. Women bring to the table the power of negotiation—that is a critical asset in today’s business environment. Women are striving harder for equal representation across the gamut, and our industry is also reflecting this trend.
What does the future look like?
Very promising, although it needs to come with a sustained effort from the industry to invest in more women to explore the trades. A key component to this is to not allow gender bias or any other obstacle to stand in front of these future leaders, and this can only come from a deep commitment from each one of us to empower the woman who is a coworker, a subordinate or even one’s own boss.