As we approach International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8th the construction industry is celebrating the women working in it with Women in Construction (WIC) Week. While females are still largely underrepresented in the construction industry, one report optimistically points out that we’re seeing the highest levels in the workforce that we’ve seen in the last 20 years.
Trailblazing legends in the industry like Gina Cody have inspired the upcoming and growing number of women entering the trades. In fact, there are so many women worthy of recognition now working in the construction industry globally that it was hard putting this article together. As part of WIC, we’ve hand-selected 20 up-and-coming trailblazers. They’re talented, they’re tough, they’re fearless and they’re bringing a much needed female voice across trades otherwise dominated by men. From crane operators to carpenters, and in no particular order, here are this year’s top 20 women in construction you need to be following on Instagram.
1 Stefanie Apostolidis AKA Melbourne CHippY Chick, Carpenter
Based out of Melbourne, Australia, Stefanie is a skilled and sponsored carpenter who is following her family’s construction footsteps. As the creator of the Tradie Ladies Club, and with dozens of media appearances, Stefanie has earned all 123k Instagram followers who know her as Melbourne Chippy Chick. She told a local news outlet that she started the Tradie Lady Club to “keep empowering women to pick up a trade.”
You can follow Stefanie’s work on Instagram here.
2 Madi AKA That Welding Chick, Fitter
The work of a welder may seem hardcore to some, but not Madi, now well known amongst her 1500 Instagram followers as That Welding Chick. She’s a mother, a wife, an alpaca breeder, and damn good at what she does. From stick welders to artistic metal creations, Madi posts about all things welding and she does it with a sense of humour. Seen in the lower right photo, her caption reads:
Shit, my wife turns 50 tomorrow, how much do 50 fresh roses cost??
Hold my coffee"
Madi is proud to be a lifelong learner and a metal tinkerer. Follow her welding adventures on her Instagram here.
3 Amelia Rae AKA Lady Spark, Electrician
You don’t get the nickname Lady Spark without being a talented electrician. Thing is, Amelia Rae is so much more than that. She is a mother of two and at only 27, she is the owner and master electrician of TKR Electrical in Palmerston North, New Zealand. She has been mentored by women through portions of her professional development, but also by men who were also willing to challenge stereotypes and bridge the gender gap. Amelia shares her feelings about other women thinking of getting into the trade:
“I want to be a role model for girls looking to get into the trades, [to] show that it can be done, and you can be successful.”
Interestingly she notes that when Australia made female-only trade schools they were more successful at attracting women. Let Amelia light up your Instagram-life by following her here.
4 Ashton White AKA That Masonry Girl, Mason
As a first-generation builder and mason, Ashton is laying the foundation for upcoming generations of women hoping to follow her footsteps. She is based out of Charlotte, North Carolina but has won national bricklaying competitions. When asked if she’d ever felt discouraged about being a woman in a male-dominated industry she responded:
“No, I feel like I fit in and always felt that way. Even in the shop in high school, the guys didn’t treat me differently. They’ve always accepted me. I have always felt that way at Gates Construction Co. as well.”
You can see Ashton’s latest competition work by following her on Instagram here.
5 Katie Kelleher AKA Katie Cranes, Crane Operator
Katie is challenging and changing the face of the construction industry actively. She talks about this openly on her blog and participates in as many events as possible to help encourage upcoming generations of women to join the trades. She is a STEM Ambassador, so she speaks at schools about her experiences and challenges of being a woman in construction. She’s also quite the role-model with many awards, media appearances, and prestigious positions:
- In 2016 she was appointed as a board member for a task force about transport apprenticeship
- She won the Infrastructure Apprentice of the Year award in 2017
- She won the WeAreTheCity Rising Star Award in Construction
- She was voted in the WES Top 50 Women in Engineering 2018
- She has participated in parliamentary committees about apprenticeships
- She has appeared on BBC breakfast, BBC 100 Women season, London Live, Stylist magazine and more
- In 2019, she was voted one to watch (of 15 total), by Construction News
Try to keep up with Katie on her growing Instagram account here.
6 Cynthia Marie AKA Hot Steel Welding, Welder
Located somewhere between NY and LA, Cynthia is what some would call a metal artist. When she’s not welding things together, she’s designing and selling Hot Steel Welding merchandise on her online Etsy store! One of the comments reads “It's awesome to find welding apparel for women!”
Check out some of Cynthia’s awesomeness here on her Instagram.
7 Chelsea AKA She Builds Bro, Carpenter
This talented, New Zealand-based carpenter has been working with wood for years. From framing houses to sharing the best gear for her, Chelsea is a proud female participant in the building industry and her posts prove it. Here's her advice on how to survive the everyday stresses of life as a builder:
“Sometimes you just have to not worry about whatever shit goes down during your day. Because there’s always going to be another day tomorrow. Remember to have fun, laugh (even if you look like a dork like me) and enjoy every day. Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff!!”
You can join Chelsea’s near 12k followers on Instagram here.
8 Connie Rosado AKA Construction Connie, Architect & Superintendent
Connie spent eight years working as an architect before becoming a construction superintendent. Located in California, she spends some of her spare time lifting weights when she’s not on the job or posting about her latest project. Seen in the photo to the right below is Connie’s facial-response whenever asked if she’s an intern on the job.
Join Connie’s growing Instagram audience here.
9 Christine AKA Southern Glimpse, DIY Expert
As a self-proclaimed “Jill of all trades,” Christine is a renovation expert. Her latest projects include a bathroom and a barn. She documents a lot of her latest projects on Instagram, knowledge-sharing and encouraging discussion on each of her posts. She recently opened up about life as a woman in the industry:
“I believe in each person putting in the hard work and your work will do the talking for you. However, in construction, I think we can all agree, it’s a bit more of a man’s world. Most men are very accepting of it, but there are a few that hate it and try to point out your inferiority. Ladies!! Those of you in this line of work, the best thing I’ve learned in this business is to LET IT GO and MOVE ON!...sometimes I can’t resist some kind of sarcastic comment, but the point is, block them and move on. They’re not worth the time or energy to defend your work or get you down about their comment...Don’t focus on that small percentage whose goal in life is to tear you down. I have a sign in my house that says, Prove them wrong.”
Join the discussion here on Christine’s Instagram.
10 Margret Arnarsdottir AKA margretarnars, Electrician
This female electrician is based out of Reykjavik, Iceland. Margaret does a lot of work for Fagkonur, a group helping educate the next generation of female builders. Even more impressive than that, she was recently elected President of the Union for Electricians (known as FIR in Iceland), which is male dominated...for now. Often seen in Snickers Workwear, she posts in both Icelandic and English about her day to day life, alongside life in the trades.
Follow her carpentry and electrical work on her Instagram here.
11 Chloe Hudson AKA arcweldingangel, Welder
Chloe is an AWS certified welder who has been making waves as a female welder since highschool. Her love for welding actually started with a love for modifying her Jeep. She opened up about her experience as a woman in the industry with Welding Digest recently and here's what she had to say:
“The fear of women on site is a real thing,” Hudson said. “We are labeled a distraction, not strong enough, a walking HR nightmare...it’s going to take more women willing to prove these labels wrong and work their butts off before any change comes about. We should all strive to be the best welder we can be, regardless of any of the demographic boxes you can check off.”
Chloe is known as not compromising what makes her feel feminine. She shares this in her interview alongside advice for other women wanting to enter the trades:
“The advice I would give young women is not to let preconceived ideas of a welder change who you are. It’s hard as hell, it can be dirty, there are long hours, and I swear everything is heavy, but it’s worth it. I go to work and love my job every single day, and I will never let it keep me from my glitter manicures and being a makeup fanatic”
Join Chloe’s nearly 40k followers on her Instagram here.
12 Dee Burgess AKA dee_r.plumbingsudbury, Plumber
Based out of Sudbury, Ontario, this female plumber does a lot more than clean pipes. On top of being a licensed plumber, she is a business owner, plumbing teacher, and mother of three children. Dee also started doing public speaking to help encourage more young women into the trades. She posts about recent jobs she’s working on, and even sources of inspiration like her grandfather who was a carpenter.
Get inspired by Dee’s journey here on her Instagram.
13 Elizaveta Watson AKA i_am_girlwelder, TIG Welder
This welding woman is based out of Olympia, Washington but originally is from Russia. She specializes in titanium exhaust systems for cars using gas tungsten arc welding, more commonly known as TIG welding. She posts most of her work for Rampage Design and Fabrication on Instagram, and also takes time to vlog on YouTube is both Russian and English.
Join Elizaveta’s nearly 33k followers on her Instagram here.
14 Noah Reanna (same name on Instagram), Roofer
As a former ballerina, Noah now works as a roofer in Whitehorse, Yukon at just 21 years old. She also cuts firewood and definitely knows how to work a chainsaw better than most. She posts about all of her hands-on work and even gear made for females from Carhartt on Instagram. Her advice for everyone is to have fun and remember to laugh:
“Enjoy what you do, no matter what it is! Goof around! Be silly! And for goodness sake, laugh a little, or a lot! Even if you make ugly faces while doing it. Joy is a gift you can have whenever you want it! Don't waste it, friends! Enjoy today ❤️Disclaimer: I am not suggesting you goof around with a running @stihl chainsaw”
You can follow Noah on her Instagram here.
15 Veiga Dís Hansdóttir AKA veigadis, Carpenter
Veiga isn’t just a carpenter, she’s a power weight lifter and a power female. Based out of Iceland, she posts a mix of powerlifting, carpentry and her day-to-day life on Instagram.
Check out her posts in Icelandic and English here.
16 Rae Ripple (same name on Instagram), Welder
This welder is better described as a welding artist. Based out of Texas, Rae welds everything from spines and sculptures to chairs. She has a busy and active life outside her work as well. When Rae’s not being interviewed by industry media like Welder Magazine, she’s busy being a mom or running her online welding supply store.
You can follow Rae on Instagram here.
17 Alice AKA That Plastering Girl, Interior Plasterer
Alice is from Auckland, New Zealand and is a skilled interior plasterer - her Instagram proves it. She shares lots of video how-to with tips about the tools and techniques she uses to master plastering. When she’s not helping others improve their plastering game, she’s busy being a mom.
You can follow Alice on Instagram here.
18 Keisha Johnston AKA keish_a_keish, Rod Buster
Keisha is a female steelworker, who works and occasionally even mentors as a rod buster. In a recent lesson about rebar at a career fair, Keisha was asked by some mother’s present about being a woman in construction. She explains:
“I came across a lot of questions about being a female in trades, a lot of questions from concerned mothers about harassment and safety. Once I explained the type of support around me and the policies in place at work I could see their concerns ease up. What gets me every time is being able to open up discussions about being a female in a male-dominated industry and empowering the idea that women can do and be anything we want.”
Her advice for other women:
“Attention #Ladies ⚠️: Step out of your #comfortzones and you just might find a version of yourself that suits you best.”
Follow Keisha on Instagram here.
19 Jen Brown AKA jenbrownbuilds, Remodeler
As a mom and a renovation expert, Jen Brown has a lot to post about. She moved away from a career she’d built for herself into her family construction business in Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram to see her before and afters, problem-solving on the job, what tools she uses and soak up some tips for home improvement. We’ll be following to see if she becomes part of an upcoming craftsman competition!
20 Cassandra Warren, Caulker
Cassandra is a professional caulker and proud owner of 007 Caulking Inc. Based out of Ontario, she posts all kinds of on-the-job know-how with examples ranging from mortar joints to urinals. She shares some advice for other women thinking about joining the industry:
“You NEED to have thick skin to be in such an environment as a female. So when you ask me if my job is hard? “Yes, my job is hard, especially mentally because I get to deal with guys that can’t handle a female doing a “man’s” job” and better at it too.”
You can see Cassandra’s work by following her on Instagram here.
Finding Female-Friendly Construction Communities
If you’re a female working in construction and looking to build your network there are a number of online communities just for you.
Move Over Bob
Women in Steel Toes
Fix It Females
The Carmen Electrode
Les Elles de la Construction
These types of communities were designed by women working in construction, for women working in construction. They organize events and facilitate discussion online while creating a support system for women where tips of the trade can be shared amongst friends. We look forward to the day that these types of communities don’t need to exist because there are enough females working in trades, but until then we’re grateful they exist. Together we celebrate and support women who are breaking the stereotype and mastering building and construction around the world. Wishing everyone a great National Women in Construction week and a Happy International Women’s Day!
Feature Image: Unsplash/Katherine Hanlon
All screenshots taken by author, February 2020 from Instagram