In March we celebrated women’s accomplishments from business, politics, and sports. Women across the globe are already breaking the glass ceiling hundreds of times over. There is much to be learned from these inspiring accomplishments as we move forward in our personal lives and careers.

While we’ve made serious strides, the COVID-19 pandemic set women in the workforce back as we saw when more than 5 million women lost or left their jobs in the past year.

In December 2020 alone, the U.S. economy lost 156,000 jobs that were previously held by women. A recent study shows working women are experiencing the worst effects of the recession because, one, the industries they tend to work in are harder hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and two, the shutdown of schools and day care have made it harder for parents, women especially, to keep working.

At the Associated Builders and Contractors of Southern California, this mass exodus in the workforce is the guiding reason for the focus, now more than ever, on recruiting, training and encouraging women to enter the construction industry. It’s up to us to push through the hardship to support and uplift the women in our industry.

This widely male-dominated field has a myriad of opportunities to offer women — career advancement, training, job placement, and perhaps most importantly, wage parity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women working in construction numbered 1.5% of the entire U.S. workforce in 2018, but earn 91.1% of what men do, compared to 81.1% for women overall.

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