Research on Tradeswomen's Issues

Research on Tradeswomen’s Issues


  • Günseli Berik

  • Molly Benitez

  • Hannah M. Curtis, MPH

  • Sefla Fuhrman

  • Linda M. Goldenhar Ph.D.

  • Ariane Hegewisch

  • Roberta Hunte, PhD

  • Erin Johansson

  • Maura Kelly

  • Susan Moir, ScD

  • Brigid O’Farrell

  • Heidi E. Wagner, PhD


Günseli Berik

History of research:


Cihan Bilginsoy and I coauthored several articles on apprenticeship training for the skilled trades. A few of these were specifically on the construction sector. The last two articles we published are listed below (one is downloadable). Typically we examined gender and race/ethnicity differences—graduation rates, drop out rates, probability of graduation, time to graduation, and the quantity of training acquired by quitters—based on from US DOL.   Bilginsoy and I are now planning to revisit these and other questions with updated data.


2011  “Gender and Racial Training Gaps in Oregon Apprenticeship Programs” (with Cihan Bilginsoy  and Larry Williams), Labor Studies Journal 36 (2): 221-244.


2006    “Still A Wedge in the Door:  Women Training for the Construction Trades in the U.S.” (with Cihan Bilginsoy) International Journal of Manpower, 27 (4), 321-341. (but no free download)


New research:
How did women’s representation in registered apprenticeship in construction trades evolve in since 2000. We will look at the impact of the following factors on recruitment of women in training, their occupational distribution and ethnic/racial composition, and the performance of women apprentices:

  1. Business cycles and the Great Recession in particular

  2. Apprenticeship program sponsorship

  3. Geography (by state)

The data for this research come from the RAPIDS of the DOL (for 33 states), and California and Oregon. Registered apprenticeship information may become available from other states and added to the database.


Molly Benitez


Molly Benitez is a former aerospace welder who has welded throughout the U.S. and abroad. A current PhD candidate in the American Studies Department at the University of Maryland, their research interests include gender/sexuality, race, theories of work, and identity. M. Benitez has taught classes on the topics of women/gender studies, popular culture, and American Studies.

Their dissertation mobilizes ethnography and autoethnography to critically analyze how non-traditional (women, trans, and gender non-conforming) workers in blue-collar labor navigate their identity in the workplace and beyond. Using affect theory, women of color feminism, and theories of work, M. Benitez analyzes not simply how repetition of work produces bodies, but the dialectical process in which non-traditional blue-collar workers experience and internalize trauma/violence, gender norms, and valuations of craft/skill/competency. These experiences not only metabolize in and through every part of their lives but also affect the lives of those around them.


M. Benitez is the director of Reckoning Trade Project that offers Know-Your-Rights and community building workshops for non-traditional workers in blue-collar labor and sits on the board of the Lavender Rights Law Project, a non-profit works to advance a more just and equitable society through providing community organizing, education, and direct legal services to low-income communities focusing on the LGBTQ community.

Hannah M. Curtis, MPH



Hannah is a Research Coordinator at the University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, where she manages community-engaged programs addressing health and safety needs of women in the construction trades and low-wage workers in the Seattle area. She holds a Master of Public Health specializing in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan, where she worked to prevent sexual violence among college students and improve economic opportunities for sexually-vulnerable youth in Detroit. Prior to that, Hannah worked as a policy analyst in New York City at the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness where she studied the interrelated needs of homeless families and effectiveness of social service programs. She has volunteered in multiple programmatic capacities with anti-sex trafficking organizations in Chennai, India and New York City, Planned Parenthood Federation, and the Lupus Foundation of America.

My paper, "Gendered safety and health risks in the construction industry" was just published in the Annals of Work Exposures and Health (

Research Summary

Safety and Health Empowerment for Women in Trades (SHEWT) is a community-driven, multi-phase study aimed at reducing tradeswomen's risk of workplace health and safety hazards through research and program development. Using surveys, we examined differences in workplace exposure between women and men working in the trades in WA State, and the association of these exposures with self-reported stress and work injury, in order to highlight how gendered conditions of work negatively affect tradeswomen’s health. The study found elevated risk of high stress and injury for women compared with men; the outcomes were associated with several gender-related exposures (including harassment, overcompensation, and discrimination). Building off the research, we piloted a mentoring program focused on empowering women apprentices to recognize their stressors and advocate for safer worksites. Funding and support for this project is provided by the State of Washington, Department of Labor and Industries, Safety & Health Investment Projects.


Sefla Fuhrman


Ph.D. in Urban Studies in May 2017, currently with the Louisiana Workforce Commission.  My dissertation is titled, "Women in Nontraditional Occupations:  a mixed methods qualitative case study on women in the U.S. concrete-construction industry," and I believe several sections of my dissertation could become articles, or contributions to articles for your organization.  (

I have given presentations about my work, and I have also been published in a couple industry magazines.  One article can be found here, with the permission of Hanley Wood


Linda M. Goldenhar Ph.D.


Linda M. Goldenhar received her PhD in Public Health and began her career as a Research Psychologist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). While there, she focused her research on a variety of construction-related topics including tradeswomen’s safety and health concerns, worker perceptions on working overtime, among others. She served as NIOSH’s construction coordinator and was a member of the National Academy of Science review of NIOSH’s construction program.  Linda is currently the Director of Research and Evaluation at CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Evaluation. She leads the project that created the Foundations for Safety Leadership (FSL), a leadership training module for frontline foremen and supervisors. She’s also the lead on CPWR’s safety climate efforts that includes creating the Workbook and Rating Tool to Help you Strengthen Jobsite Safety Climate and the Safety Climate Assessment Tool (S-CAT). She has published over 65 peer-reviewed publications, articles in trade magazines, book chapters and manuals and has presented a numerous national and international academic and construction conferences.  Below is a list of publications Linda has authored or co-authored with colleagues on the topic of tradeswomen’s health and safety concerns.


  1. Goldenhar LM and Haring Sweeney M. (1996) Tradewomen's perspective on occupational health and safety; A qualitative investigation.  American Journal Industrial Medicine Vol 29(5). 516-520.


  1. Goldenhar LM, Welch, LS Hunting KL. Occupational Safety and Health for Skilled Tradeswomen Working in Construction   Safe Workplace Magazine (2000)


  1. Welch LS, Goldenhar LM, Hunting KL. (2000) Women in Construction: Occupational Health and Working Conditions. The Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association Vol 55(2). 289-292.


  1. Goldenhar LM, Williams, L, Swanson NG. (2003) Modeling Job Stressors and Injury Outcomes for Construction Laborers.  Work and Stress Vol 17(3) 218-


  1. Job Stress among Women in Construction Tradeswomen’s’ Difficulty in Finding Properly-fitting Personal Protective Equipment.  Safety and Health (May & Jul 1997)


  1. Health and Safety for A Diverse Construction Workforce: Issues and Ideas – NIOSH #99-140 - (1999)


  1. "Women in the Construction Workplace: Providing Equitable Safety and Health Protection" Submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), June 1999, by Health and Safety of Women in Construction (HASWIC) workgroup, Occupational Safety and Health Administration Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH),Department of Labor


Please also see this resource of women’s PPE from the CPWR:

Ariane Hegewisch


Program Director Employment & Earnings
Institute for Women's Policy Research

1200 18th Street NW, Suite 301

Washington, DC 20036


Main: 202.785.5100 | Direct: 202.785 0109 | Fax: 202.833.4362


Ariane Hegewisch is Program Director for Employment and Earnings at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, an independent research institute in Washington, DC.  She is responsible for IWPR’s research on earnings, occupations, and workplace discrimination, and directs IWPR’s work for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Gender Equity in Apprenticeship grant. Recent publications include a number of Best Practice briefs on improving access & retention of women to apprenticeships,  Pathways to Equity: Narrowing the Wage Gap by Improving Women’s Access to Good Middle-Skill Jobs which has new data showing the consequences of occupational segregation for women’s earnings and poverty, and looks at the potential of recruitment needs in nontraditional occupations that do not need a 4 year degree for improving women’s economic security. Undervalued and Underpaid in America: Women in Low-Wage, Female-Dominated Jobs  - the flipside- shows how little women earn in most jobs that are majority female. Women in the Construction Trades: Earnings, Workplace Discrimination, and the Promise of Green Jobs  , done jointly with Brigid O’Farrell is a report about a research project on women in green jobs, which includes the results of a 2013 survey of tradeswomen (on green jobs and general conditions in the trades). 

On-going projects include preparation of 2 best practice briefs (one on women-only pre-apprenticeship programs (CWIT, OTI, NEW) and one on women-only pre-apprenticeship programs to place women in manufacturing and shipbuilding (WVWW and WinC); about to start work in Oregon on employers’ perceptions of the benefits of measures to improve apprentice retention in highway trades. Tangentially relevant is a project on women & the future of work (automation & Artificial Intelligence): construction occupations have seen the lowest increase in use of digital technologies of all occupations during last decade, according to a new Brookings report. Research interests include scope for improving work family supports in the trades (e.g. paid leave, childcare).

Ariane was a member of the 2015-2016 EEOC’s Select Taskforce on Workplace Harassment. Prior to coming to the USA in 2001, she taught comparative European human resource management at Cranfield School of Management in the UK where she was a founding researcher of the Cranet Survey of International HRM, the largest independent survey of human resource management practices, covering 25 countries worldwide. She began her career in local government in London as a policy advisor on sector strategies and women’s employment and training. She received a BSc Economics from the London School of Economics, and an MPhil Development Studies from the University of Sussex, UK.



Roberta Hunte, PhD


Assistant Professor

PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada 2012


Gender studies; critical race studies; gender and militarism; women and work; women and peacebuilding; cross-cultural dialogue and community organizing.

Scholarly Projects

I am currently working on a manuscript on African American tradeswomen negotiating race and gender in long-term careers in the U.S. building trades. 

She is currently sitting on the advisory committee for the Multnomah County Courthouse Project Labor Agreement and is working with Tiffany Thompson of Oregon Tradeswomen on a tool kit to go along with the film “Sista in the Brotherhood.”

Erin Johansson


Research Director, Jobs with Justice



Erin manages the research program of Jobs With Justice Education Fund, which includes producing original research and public education products. Erin also coordinates the Labor Research and Action Network (LRAN), which brings together scholars and practitioners to build workplace and economic power for working people. Erin holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College and joined the staff of American Rights at Work in 2004. She has written numerous publications for Jobs With Justice and American Rights at Work, on topics ranging from labor law, contingent work, the National Labor Relations Board, Walmart, and the broader value of unions to communities.


Publications/projects related to tradeswomen:

  • In 2011, we commissioned and produced a Cornell report on the prevalence of community workforce provisions in PLAs:

  • In 2016, I wrote a joint JWJ/NABTU Tradeswomen Committee report on best practices in recruiting and retaining women and people of color in the trades:

  • Currently, I’m overseeing a two year initiative, funded by the JPB Foundation, to expand construction careers for women and people of color. For the local element of that work, we have organizers in Denver and Orlando working with unions and community groups to advance workforce diversity goals on specific projects. We are aiming to recruit academic partners to work with these groups to track progress, surface data concerns, etc.

Maura Kelly


Maura Kelly is an associate professor of sociology at Portland State University in Portland Oregon. Her research and teaching interests include gender, sexualities, race/ethnicity, and work and occupations. Her current research is primarily focused on gender and racial/ethnic diversity in the construction trades.


Maura Kelly has worked on a variety of projects related to the construction trades, primarily funded by public agencies in Oregon and Washington. Current projects on the trades include: 1) the 2018 survey of apprentices in the construction trades in Oregon, evaluating the supportive services provided by BOLI/ODOT; 2) an evaluation of the Green Dot bystander intervention program pilot job site (in partnership with Oregon Tradeswomen); and 3) evaluation of anti harassment policies and programs being implemented on job sites by the City of Seattle. Reports from all projects are available at Maura has also published a peer-reviewed article on the construction trades, with additional articles in press and currently in progress; article available at

Susan Moir, ScD

Following a career as a union school bus driver and founder of the Boston School Bus Drivers’ Ergonomics Project, I was hired by UMass Lowell in 1992 to direct the Building Trades’ occupational health research on Boston’s Big Dig highway construction megaproject. I conducted a two-year participatory research project with tradeswomen, “The Boston-Area HASWIC Research Circle,” to look in depth at tradeswomen’s health and safety concerns and solutions. While at UMass Lowell, I completed a Doctor of Science in work environment policy.


In 2004, I moved to UMass Boston to direct the Labor Resource Center and four years later I was approached by Liz Skidmore of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters with a request: “We have been trying and failing to get more women into the trades for decades. We need a think tank. Can we pull together the smartest people we know who care about this?” Along with the Metro Boston Building Trades Council, the Mass AFL-CIO and the Dorchester Roxbury Labor Committee, we co-convened PGTI: The Policy Group on Tradeswomen Issues. PGTI is my participatory action research project and it is a “multi-stakeholder collaboration of government, industry and community partners committed to crushing the barriers to women entering the trades.” Our goal is 20% tradeswomen by 2020. We have met every other month for almost 10 years. One of PGTI’s major contributions is the production and dissemination of a regional manual of best practices, Finishing the Job: Best Practices for Diverse Workforce in The Construction Workforce.


My roles as the research in our broad-based and statewide collaborations are facilitation, analysis and documentation. My recent work has been focused on providing Technical Assistance to industry partners on “Why and How: Women in the Construction Trades” and on data analysis for strategic planning.  


Selected publications and presentations

  • Moir & Skidmore. (2018) “A Collaborative Learning Community Crushing the Barriers to Women’s Careers in the Construction Trades.” Book chapter (In press).

  • Moir, S. (2017) “Best Practices for Gender Diversity in the Construction Trades.” Keynote Address, National Women’s History Month, State Transportation Building, March 20, 2017.

  • Moir, S. (2016) “A Comparative Study of Women Working in the Construction Industry in India and the US.” Labour and Development, 23(2):1-17, Noida, India.

  • Johansson, E., Doherty, B., Baker-Gomez, M., Moir, S. (2016) “Lessons learned from the UMass Boston and Minnesota Vikings stadium construction projects.” Panel on the release of the report “Building Career Opportunities for Women and People of Color: Breakthroughs in Construction.” Washington, DC. December 8, 2016.

  • Moir, S., Barros, J., Mailman, S., Doherty, B., Kinney, G. (2016). “Good Jobs for Women: Getting Business on Board.” New England Women’s Policy Conference, UMass Boston. November 18, 2016.

  • Moir, S., Baker-Gomez, M., Skilling, D. (2016). “Why and how to accomplish gender diversity in the construction trades.” University of Massachusetts Building Authority (UMBA) Compliance Summit, Boston. September 14, 2016.

  • Moir, S., (2016). “Apprenticeships in the building trades and health care: Promise and challenge of a remaking the model for stronger unions.” Labor Research and Action Network (LRAN) 2016 Conference, Chicago. June 24, 2016.

  • Moir, S. (2016). “Building Bridges: A Comparative Study of Women Working in the Construction Industry in India and the U.S.” Annual Fulbright South Asia Conference, Jaipur, India. March 2016.

  • Moir, S. (2015). “Finishing the Job: Best Practices for a Diverse Workforce in the Construction Industry,” The Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues (PGTI), Boston MA.

  • Moir, S., Peterson, J. “How to Be a (Sheet) Rock Star: Getting Your Female Clients Into High-Skill, High Paying, Union Construction Careers.” Boston Career Link, October 21, 2015.

  • Moir, S. (2015). “Game Changers: Strategies for crushing the barriers to women entering the construction trades in the US.” International Symposium: Women in Construction, London, June 18, 2015.

  • Moir, S. (2015). “Eggheads and Dirt Dogs: The thousand-year-old mixed marriage between the academy and the construction industry.” Jack Bisantz Occupational Safety and Health Lecture, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of Buffalo, March 6, 2015.

  • Moir, S., Doherty, B., Skidmore, E. (2015). “The Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues (PGTI): A multi-stakeholder ‘think and action’ project crushing barriers to good jobs in the construction industry for women,” LERA Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, May 29, 2015.

  • Moir, S. (2014). “Gender segregation in the construction trades: Lessons from thirty-five years of US policy failures.” Paper presented at the International Labour Processes Conference, London, April 7, 2014. Organizer of the conference research stream on “Occupational segregation in the global economy: An examination of its impacts across gender, ethnicity and immigration.”

  • Moir, S., Doherty, B., Skidmore, E., Rodriguez, S., and Baker-Gomez, M. (2014) “Game Changers: New strategies for crushing the barriers for women entering the construction trades,” UMass Boston, March 21, 2014.

  • Moir, S, Thompson, M, Kelleher, C. (2011). “Unfinished Business:  Building Equality for Women in the Construction Trades.” Labor Resource Center, University of Massachusetts Boston.

  • Moir, S. (2010) “Good jobs for poor women build sustainable communities.” Conference on Sustaining Communities in Work, Education, and Health: Contributions within an Ecological Framework, Northeastern University, Boston.

  • Moir, S. (2010). “Busting Down the Door: Women’s Access to High Paying Construction Jobs.” Keynote address at Sisters in the Brotherhood, Third National Carpenters Women’s Conference, Las Vegas, June 2010.

  • Argyres, A., Moir, S. (2009). Building Trade Apprentice Training in Massachusetts: An Analysis of Union and Non-Union Programs, 1997-2007. Labor Resource Center, University of Massachusetts Boston.

  • Stevens, C. (September 2009). Green Jobs and Women Workers: Employment, Equity, Equality. Spain, International Labour Foundation for Sustainable Development (Sustainlabour). Contributed article on “Women in the Construction Industry in the United States.”

  • Moir, S., & Azaroff, L. (2008). The Boston-Area HASWIC Research Circle: An Innovative Participatory Method for Coloring in the Picture of a Special Work Environment. In C. Levenstein (Ed.), At the Point of Production: The Social Analysis of Occupational and Environmental Health: Baywood.

  • Moir, S. and E. Skidmore (2007). Designing a Pre-Apprenticeship Model for Women Entering and Succeeding in the Construction Trades, Report from the Center for Women and Work, University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Brigid O’Farrell


Brigid O’Farrell, Independent Scholar, Moss Beach, CA

Affiliated with the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project at George Washington University, my research, writing, and advocacy in sociology and labor history over the past 40 years focus on public policy and women’s equality in the workplace, especially in skilled trades and technical jobs.

My most recent tradeswomen research with Ariane Hegewisch, IWPR, is a survey of tradeswomen reported in Women in the Construction Trades: Earnings, Workplace Discrimination, and the Promise of Green Jobs . Union women’s leadership research with Emily Twarog, et al, is found in "Labor Education and Union Leadership Development for Union Women” in Labor Studies ( To reach a wider audience several shorter pieces have appeared in newspapers and on-line news publications. I have authored or collaborated on 10 books, most recently She Was One of Us:  Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker.

Molly Martin and I have just completed a five-minute video presentation ( and guide (attached) for a Tradeswomen History Workshop, “Learning from the Past to Change the Future.” Women in construction and domestic work after the 2008 recession are compared in the forthcoming chapter “Global Women Workers:  A View from the United States,” in the edited volume Global Women’s Work: Gender and Work in the Global Economy.

Currently I’m working on an article about tradeswomen and sexual harassment, a longer history piece, the upcoming ILO meetings on a convention to end gender-based violence in the world of work ( and a case study of a local project labor agreement. I’m a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981.        


Heidi E. Wagner, PhD

Heidi E. Wagner, PhD

Assistant Professor

School for Workers, Department of Labor Education

University of Wisconsin, Extension

Madison, Wisconsin



University of Minnesota, Twin Cities                                                                  2015

Ph.D. in Design, concentration-Housing Studies

Dissertation: Hiring Goals: Are they assisting more women to enter and remain in the building trades?

Committee Members: Julia W. Robinson, Becky L. Yust, Marilyn J. Bruin, and A. Peter Hilger


North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota


M.S. in Construction Management and Engineering

Thesis: A Cognitive Apprenticeship Program for Residential Construction Management

Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana


Certificate in Construction Administration and Project Management

Marlboro College, Marlboro, Vermont                                                                                 1999

B.A. in American Studies and Visual Arts-Sculpture/Woodworking, Furniture Design/Build

Academic year studying architecture in Denmark’s International Study Program, Copenhagen


RE: Tradeswomen

  • Submitted applied research grant for a renews Madison, WI pre-apprenticeship program for women

  • Analyzing a survey re: tradeswomen retention

  • In discussions to work on more research around women and PPE/C

  • ELECTRI International Early Career Award for: Pilot study—Marketing electrical apprenticeship opportunities with content targeted toward recruiting women


Last updated 3/3/2018