Founded in 2008, PGTI is a multi-stakeholder collaboration of construction industry stakeholders committed to crushing the barriers to women’s access to good jobs in the union construction trades. Our goal is 20% women by 2020.
In 2011, our founding document, Unfinished Business, reviewed research by academics, advocates and tradeswomen themselves to answer the question, “Decades after the law was passed giving women the right to jobs in the trades, why are women still not fairly represented?” Unfinished Business blew away myths such as “women don’t want these jobs,” and “women aren’t strong enough,” myths that blamed women for a national policy failure. The answer to why women were not entering and staying in the trades was, and is today, systemic sexism and discrimination within all aspects of the industry. We set out to identify practices and policies that would overwhelm barriers to women’s success in the trades and build a community committed to change. PGTI is that learning community. We have met every other month since 2008. Because many of us have been working on this issue for decades, we begin every meeting with our mantra:
There is no silver bullet
We are in this together
We will never never give up
Today, PGTI is a collaboration of over 75 industry partners including unions and apprenticeship programs, contractors, developers and community organizations. Two recent articles describe the history of the first 13 years of PGTI’s development are
- Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues: A Collaborative Learning Community Crushing the Barriers to Women’s Careers in the Construction Trades, written by Susan Moir and Liz Skidmore is a chapter in the 2021 book, Organizing for Power.
- A Recent History of the Massachusetts Union Tradeswomen Movement is a paper written by Dan McNulty of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council.
High points of PGTI’s successes include:
- Our “Integrated Supply and Demand Strategy.” Getting and keeping women in the trades is more complicated than training and apprenticeship (the supply side). Women need access to jobs and continuous employment (the demand side). Our contractor partners are the industry employers who are key to this.
- We have tested and proven stakeholder diversity practices and policies in Finishing the Job: Best Practices for a Diverse Workforce in the Construction Industry a practical hands-on manual which includes checklists for all stakeholder groups.
- Statewide Massachusetts is leading the nation in in gender diversity in construction apprenticeship as women in union apprenticeship programs has increased to 10%.
- Tradeswomen have worked over a million hours and have reached 7.7% of workforce hours on our Targeted Projects. This is above both the national and state requirements and more than double the national average!
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