O P I N I O N
She belongs here
Biases and self-image issues can dampen girls’ interest in STEM from a young age, but the AEC industry can take action to change this trend.
O ver the past year, I became more committed to elevating women within the AEC industry. In 2020, I was honored to be selected for Zweig Group’s inaugural ElevateHer cohort group. The cohort group included 26 women and men across the country working together to address recruitment and retention of women working in the AEC industry.
What drew me to apply to this program was a staggering statistic identified in a recent Zweig Group survey of AEC firms – that 100 percent of women surveyed considered leaving the AEC industry. This stat, along with other staggering statistics about the number of females entering the industry and then leaving, helped form the foundation for ElevateHer. Jamie Claire Kiser, principal of Zweig Group and creator of ElevateHer said, “The goal is not to check the box but to make a cultural change that changes the shape, color, and outline of the ‘boxes’ themselves with a sweeping paradigm shift in how we understand the potential of our teams.” My cohort group’s initial goal was to address and
mitigate biases and stomp stereotypes in the industry. This was a big issue to tackle. During our ElevateHer kickoff meeting, I kept thinking back to how I felt being an engineer in this industry, the stories I heard from the cohort, and how at times we felt like we did not belong. These thoughts eventually spurred what would later be our #SheBelongsHere campaign to reinforce that women belong in the AEC industry. Our research identified that because of established traditional gender roles, society often does not associate or expect women to be engineers or to hold positions in construction or leadership. It’s not necessarily that our employers, co-workers,
See SHIBANI BISSON, page 10
THE ZWEIG LETTER MAY 31, 2021, ISSUE 1394
Made with FlippingBook Annual report