As of December 2016, approximately 939,000 women were working in construction in the United States. That’s only 9.1 percent of the construction workforce. As an industry, we still have a long way to go, but organizations and initiatives like the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and Miron Construction’s “Build Like A Girl” empower the current and future generations of women. Together, we can build a better and more inclusive industry.

We sat down with prominent women in construction to hear about their experiences working in a male-dominated field, challenges they’ve faced along the way, and where they think we’re headed as an industry.

Morgan Traynor, Director of Project Controls, Ryan Companies

Morgan Traynor Ryan Companies

“There are definitely challenges with being a woman in an industry like construction. I see it as an opportunity to show others who I work with, whether it’s here at Ryan Companies or in the industry, that if I can do it, they can do it. I know that sounds really cliché, but honestly, I started as an intern at Ryan Companies and have been able to work my way to a position that I’m enjoying, and a position that wasn’t available when I first started at the company. I want to be a leader for all women at Ryan Companies and all women out there in the construction industry.”

Katherine DiGiorgi, Estimator, Plaza Construction

“I feel great about being a woman in construction. I think it’s awesome and we need more women in this field. I get my work done and work hard just as everyone else does. I don’t see myself as different, and I don’t want to be seen as different from everyone else. Anyone thinking about going into construction, whether you’re a woman or man — go for what you want to do. If you’re not doing what you want to do, you’re not going to be happy.”

Stephanie Cunich, Marketing Manager, Innovative Mechanical, Inc

“It’s definitely a changing industry. We went from an era like Mad Men to now, when women are doing the same things as men. They’re project managers, working in the field, and doing all kinds of different jobs. It is hard sometimes because I think there’s always that stigma, but women have changed a lot of different jobs that people don’t realize. They’re now coming into these different kinds of positions and just kicking butt.”

Jessica Rondash, Information Systems Analyst, Holt Construction

Jessica Rondash Holt Construction

“Construction is a great industry for women to get into. It’s been notorious for not being women-friendly, but it’s also been notorious for not being tech-friendly, and that’s been changing a lot. We have a lot of women that work at Holt Construction. Our Director of Operations and Director of Business Development are women, and we have female Project Executives and Project Managers. The industry is definitely becoming more women-friendly, and the more women that enter, the friendlier it will get.”

Want to hear from more women leaders in construction? Check out our recent interview with Angela Battle, Director of Subcontractor Diversity at Sellen Construction, on building a more inclusive construction industry.