General Safety Services Blog Post

Construction is a man’s world. This generalized and gender-biased opinion regarding gender in careers requiring manual labor is this: women can’t, shouldn’t, and aren’t welcome. Or–perhaps even more discriminatory–women who do work physical jobs are less “feminine” than those who do not.

General Safety Services challenges the status-quo with its President and CEO, Nardine Bellew. Nardine has extensive education, training, and experience within the industry. With a 30 hour OSHA Certification and certificates from the Turner School of Construction Management, Suffolk Construction’s School for SubContractors, and MGCC’s Capacity & Contracts, Nardine’s  experience runs the gamut. As a proud member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Nardine believes that women are respected leaders actively contributing to the growth and success of the construction industry.

With the possible exception of jobs that require heavy lifting, there are few assignments that a woman couldn’t do as well as a man. And perhaps better. Unfortunately, a recent review of labor statistics still reflect a gender-bias. For example, in 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 9,813,000 people working in the construction industry. Of these, 872,000 of them, or 8.9 percent, were women. Women workers numbered 1.2 percent of the entire U.S. workforce in 2013, earning an average of 82.1 percent what men make. However, it is worth noting that the gender pay gap is much narrower in the construction industry, with women earning an average of 93.4 percent what men make.

Although the pace of change is slow, improvements are being made. According to USA Today, the Department of Labor is stepping up its involvement with plans to award $100 million in grants this year for construction-related apprenticeship programs that expand opportunities for women. Furthermore, associations like the Associated Sub-Contractors of MA (ASM), the Associated General Contractors of MA (AGC), and Nontraditional Employment for Women are undertaking educational campaigns and recruiting programs aimed at diversifying the industry’s workforce.

A crucial step in increasing the number of women in a predominately male industry is to raise awareness about the dearth of women in construction, and to highlight the successes of the relatively small number of women–like Nardine Bellew–who’ve thrived in the sector.


Barry Segel