5 Great Women in Construction History

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Lillian Gilbreth - 5 Great Women in Construction History

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Photo wikipedia

March 5, 2015

Lillian Gilbreth could be considered a pioneer on modern management. Graduated as industrial engineer, she studies workplace patterns and ergonomics. She became the first female member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1926. She is also recognized by her contributions to kitchen designs, job simplification, and job standardization. Lillian was also one of the first to consider stress and fatigue associated with workloads and time management.  The book Cheaper by the Dozen is the story of the Gilbreth family. In 1966, she won the Hoover Medal of the American Society of Civil Engineers. She became the first female professor in the engineering school at Purdue University and the first woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering,

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Frances Perkins - 5 Great Women in Construction History

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Photo Wikimedia

 Frances Perkins, although not directly related to the construction industry, she was able to paved the way for many benefits offered to construction workers. Frances Perkins was the first female to serve in the U.S. presidential cabinet, as she was appointed as United States Secretary of Labor. She was one of the leaders that help creating the Social Security Administrations and defendant of minimum wages In addition to those efforts,Frances also helped on developing the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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Kris Young - 5 Great Women in Construction History

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Mrs. Kristine L. Young. Courtesy of AGC

Kris Young was selected on 2011 as the first female president of the Associated General Contractors of America. Young boosted construction activity by enacting pro-growth tax and trade policies and making much-needed investments to the nation’s aging infrastructure. Young comes from a tunneling and boring family and she was able to climb positions within the company learning different stages of the construction business and knowing directly about the needs and issues related to the construction sector. She has over 40 years of experience in the construction business.

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Mary Kenney O'Sullivan - 5 Great Women in Construction History

Mary was an early advocate for union workers. Mary is remembered as being the first woman AFL employed on a full salary. She became the founder of the Women's Trade Union League and helped in the Industrial Workers of the World. O’Sullivan brought together affluent women, professionals, and women workers to promote protective legislation , such as the minimum wage, and tradeunionism among women. She was hired to enforce laws protecting union workers at different sites.

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Emily Roebling - 5 Great Women in Construction History

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Photo Wikipedia

Emily was the first to cross the Brooklyn Bridge after it opened on May 24, 1883. Emily was a big contributor to the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge being on of the first woman field engineer. She became the technical leader of the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband, Washington Roebling, became sick and asked for her help. Emily took charge of the day to day planning and supervision of such important job.  The Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883 and holds a plaque honoring Emily and her husband. Emily attended a meeting of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and after a powerful speech on behalf of her husband, she was appointed as Chief Engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Other Important Women

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Photo Seattle Municipal Archives

There are many other professionals woman that day to day, battle and fight to earn their rights in this challenging market. All of you ,are also making a positive contribution to the construction industry and I know you are an extremely valuable resource to our industry.