In December 2018, some unusual signs started popping up at certain construction sites around New York. The signs had the familiar orange diamond shape, but the words were slightly altered: “Men and Women at Work.”
Those eight additional letters communicate volumes.
They indicate women’s increasing prominence in the construction industry and the industry’s growing openness to women in the workforce. They indicate a dedication to diversity and inclusion, and a desire to communicate those values publicly.
“The intent was to make a subtle change to a traditional sign and create awareness in the process,” says Rosie Toscano, corporate compliance director at New York’s Plaza Construction and one of those responsible for the change in the signs. “The majority of responses have been quite favorable from workers, clients, and the public.”
The positive reception for the change reflects a slowly growing sensibility that women can be successful in construction and should be encouraged to explore this career path.