“You Can Show a Person Better Than You Can Tell ‘em”: Black Tradeswomen Mitigate Racial and Gender Microaggressions in Construction
Women make up just under three percent of the US construction workforce and of that statistic, Black women comprise a mere 0.4 percent. This chapter is based on in-depth interviews with Black tradeswomen from different parts of the United States with a focus on understanding how they navigated the realities of racism and sexism in the building trades. Women share their experiences of gender and racial microaggressions encountered during their apprenticeships, the official technical training path for construction, progressing as journey-level workers, and promotion. Women outline the nuanced crisis points in their apprenticeships where combined microaggressions from peers, management, and/or industry have impacted their careers in small and major ways. They also share some strategies they have used to address microaggressions at the interpersonal level. Their strategies offer some recommendations for industry, foremen, and apprenticeship centers to interrupt microaggressions at the level of peers, and management.
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