Women Lead in the Traditionally Male Trades

Too often, the traditional construction trade careers are completely male dominated in our minds – as I write this, you are conjuring the image of 20 men, sitting above the city on a steel beam eating their lunch. However, in 2021 that is far from reality. I’m a young female in my 30s and I am the Deputy Director of a multi-million dollar Labor-Management Fund for the International Union on Operating Engineers, Local 825. Our local operates heavy machinery and is intimately involved in our most critical and complicated infrastructure projects that affect everyone’s lives. 

Our labor management fund is 50% male & female split while the construction local continues making strides every year with major increases in female and minority representation. With traditional gender roles changing, more women find themselves operating heavy equipment. The modern machinery is ergonomic and less strenuous on the human body for everyone – in fact, Jersey’s City’s Goldman Sachs tower that soars over the skyline was constructed by a single female operator in the crane above everything.

Every day we create economic opportunities and put more than 8000 men and women to work making middle class wages. We advocate for funding for better roads, clean drinking water and reliable energy when we turn the switch on. We work directly with private developers to navigate the complex world of local zoning and development law. These projects help increase the tax base and puts more money in local residents’ pockets when government doesn’t need to increase taxes. Most importantly, we fight for fair and safe labor conditions for the state’s entire work force. 

In trades like ours, women lead.


Mike Makarski


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