Women in roofing find their niche, their place to shine in the male-denominated construction world.
As I watched the roofing crew who recently repaired our roof damaged in a hail storm, I was surprised to see a young woman. (Yes, hail storms are very common in our part of central Texas.)
I will admit that I was surprised until we were visiting with a friend who had also had a roof replaced by a different crew, and they also had a female in that crew as well.
Then I read about the fact that a company owned by a woman out of Allen Texas had crews in our area as well. I have completely missed out on the growing numbers of women in the roofing business.
What I did notice with this young lady was that she was covered up to protect her skin from the sun. The whole crew had layers, long sleeves, caps that had broadbills, and hats with wide brims.
They had long pants of heavy fabric. I don’t know if any was certified sun blocking clothing or fabric. I do know they were all cautious all day to protect themselves.
Women Shaping The Roofing Industry?
How are women in the roofing industry shaping the future?
I had assumed that roofing is still a male-dominated industry. However, these days, more women are entering the profession.
In fact, currently, women make up .5% of the professionals doing roofing in the US. Yes, this is a small amount of the total, but with efforts from the National Women In Roofing Organization, that number is growing.
Too often women assume they “can’t” be a roofer. That answer is really making me see how much I am influenced by gender bias. I am not proud of this fact about myself.
Requirements To Become A Roofer
Obviously, females can learn the basic skills of being a roofer. They can gain experience on the job. Women can climb a ladder, remove shingles and nail down new shingles as well as men.
The working conditions are often harsh, but just as men do, they learn to protect themselves from the elements by covering their skin. Sun blocking clothing will protect their skin, and keep them safe from sunburn.
As more women enter the trade, it will be more common to see women putting on their sun blocking caps and hats. They will be showing up to help build what needs to be done to shelter families and even businesses from the elements.
Doing what needs doing and taking care of their families is what women have done forever. Now it just looks different. Women in the military work in extreme situations. Our new building workforce can learn to provide safe homes to live in through the work they do.
Increasing the Roofing Industry’s Female Workforce
As women are filling all the positions, ranging from roofing, marketing, and sales to consulting manufacturing, and research.
Female professionals are also stepping into leadership roles in roofing manufacturing companies. Many female professional roofers are digging in and allowing their entrepreneurial flag to wave by being a contractor with crews.
By starting their own roofing companies, they are filling a need. They do this by providing the basic services we need for continuing to live happy and healthy lives in safe homes.
Catherine Brennen, Owner of PRO NAIL Roofing & Construction in Texas states, “I get asked most often in my industry is, do you get on the roof?
She states that she wants to assure everyone. Women can climb up on the roof just like men can.
She also says that it amazes her that this industry is that it is gender-neutral. Women are able to go into a home and talk with homeowners. About 80% of the time she says that the wife or mom is who is handling the repair negotiations for the roof.
Women can be in the roofing industry. They are needed and respected, and there’s huge growth potential in our market for women who are willing to venture into roofing.
With sun blocking clothing and skin protection measures, women can protect their skin just as men can and should.
Blinded By Gender Bias No Longer
Often women allow themselves to be blinded by gender bias and think that some jobs are for men only. And some may be. However, women in the roofing industry are showing the world that roofing is not one of them.
Whatever encourages the growth potential for women in roofing is giving a whole new area for women to work and prove their ability to actively participate in the world’s economy.
Realizing that women can work on the roof, and still protect their skin is important to this new wave of opportunity. Locking in on skin protection from the sun can keep them protected and safer from skin cancer.
Will anyone who works all day out on the roof be able to have skin that looks as pampered as someone who works in an office?
Probably not. Being out in the sun all day, every day is impossible to protect anyone from. You can lessen the damage the sun will do by covering your skin and using sunscreen. A life of exposure will require your attention and active protection.
If you can lessen your risks, you are better off than if you go out and throw caution to the wind and take additional risks of sun exposure.
Help And Support For Women In The Roofing Industry
The supportive environment fostered by participating organizations that are available to help women to be able to explore roofing as a career. These organizations are to help them evaluate the career possibilities of building or repairing roofing as a profession.
Being able to learn and train to use the information, tools, and products that are used and needed in the profession increases understanding. This gives the women a better perspective of the roofing profession as a whole.
These organizations go beyond just statements of support. They host events, seminars, and learning opportunities dedicated to advancing women in the field.
Helping women move into a new employment field has its challenges Among them is the gender bias that they “can’t” do the work. Many women feel intimidated by a lack of skills. This is a problem, but one that can be taken care of through training.
Often there are self-esteem issues that make women feel “incapable” of entering the roofing profession. The improvement in your self-worth when learning to help install a new roof or reshingle an older roof is confidence building.
Women In Roofing Find Their Niche Together
The training and industry connections that are built for women in the organizations are valuable for easier success. When I started my first personal income tax franchise, the support that was shared by the ones who had done this already helped me make sense of things that I did not yet know.
It only makes sense that the support needed for breaking into a new industry is important. Even if it is only your first day on the crew. Knowing that you have someone to call or text and ask questions gives you confidence.
These resources are especially important when breaking into a new business world. They can allow you to have the advice of others who have already survived the first day on the crew. Reassure you of your decisions and choices for building your new career.
Stay Healthy By Protecting Your Skin
As you begin to build your career in roofing, staying healthy is important. There is no question that roofing is a profession that will require special attention to protect your skin from the sun. By covering up your skin and using sunscreen you can stay healthy.
Start by covering your head. The sun hits your head first and is where you should start with protection. When on the roof, considerations of how much wind is blowing, should be in the decision of what sun hat you need.
Many favor the cap. When the wind is blowing, caps will stay in place better than the better choice, a tightly woven straw or fabric hat with a 3-inch wide brim. An in-between would be a cloth bucket-shaped hat.
It will cover your nose, neck, your face. These are the places you get skin cancer first. So it is important to find your hat early. You could change hats throughout the day if the weather changes. Some sun hats are foldable.
If you are at high risk for sunburn, you will want to prepare for the day with a good layer of sunscreen before putting on your hat.
Sunglasses For Roofers
Sunglasses are almost as important as your sun blocking hat. We are not talking about looking cool, we are talking about protection for your eyes. Your sunglasses need to have 100 UV protection.
The sun will age your eyes, and cause you to have cataracts. Choose a wrap-around lens or an oversized lens for the best protection from the sun.
So, your sun hat first, the sunglasses. Then shirts and pants. That is how you build your sunblocking wardrobe.
There are accessories you can wear to help protect your skin from the sun. Light scarves, neck gaiters, neck guards, and bandannas will protect your skin. If you have short sleeves, there are arm guards as well.
Sun Blocking Clothing For Women In Roofing
You can also buy clothing made from fabrics that have UV protection built into them. Avoid wearing manmade fabrics like polyester. Manmade fabrics will only make you hotter, as they don’t breathe at all.
After finding your head covering and sunglasses, you will need to think about your sun blocking shirts. On a roof in the warmer seasons and in our part of Central Texas anytime you are on a roof it will be warm. A loose-fitting long-sleeve shirt will be cooler than a tight-fitting shirt that air can’t circulate in.
If you have denim or other tightly woven fabric you will be able to protect yourself well. Be sure and check the fabric. Hold it between you and the sun. Can you see pinpricks of light? If you can see the sun, the sun will be able to see you and get to your skin. Find one that is tightly woven.
A newer long sleeve tee shirt can work if it is very loose fitting and a deeper color. Royal blue is the best color, but black or dark green, or deep red. They will all help keep the sun off better than white or light. If you want lighter colors, shop for sun blocking shirts with a UPF of at least 50 for wearing when roofing.
Sunscreens’ Place In Your Sun Protection for Women In Roofing
You should wear sunscreen every day. When you become a roofer, it’s even more important that you wear sunscreen while working. As you will be outdoors, sunscreens with SPF 30 should be the least protection value to apply.
An even better option is either an SPF 50, which blocks 98% of UV rays, or an SPF 100, which blocks 99%.
Sunblocking creams are better than sunscreen to protect your skin. If you have good sun blocking clothing, apply sunblock cream to the backs of your hands or any place there is a cutout on your gloves and remember your face.
Yes, you may have your sunblocking hat, but the sun reflections are your danger zone, and why you must have sunscreen or sunblock. I plan to learn to use sun-blocking cream this winter, especially on the tops of my hands. They are long overdue for some attention.
Remember To Reapply Sunscreen Every 2 Hours.
You must reapply sunscreen every couple of hours or sooner, depending on how much you sweat in the parts of your body not covered with clothing.
Wearing sunscreen or sunblock will lower your chances of getting skin cancer. It will also keep your skin from aging. For guaranteed sun protection, choose a sunscreen lotion over a spray. Check your risk for sunburn.
Building A UPF Wardrobe For Women Roofers
Clothing with SPF is the best you can get to protect yourself at this time. It is a bit pricey, so you may need to buy a shirt to add to your sun protection. Pay attention to lables and how to launder your SPF clothing.
There are many online sources for SPF clothing and to you, a woman in roofing is worth the investment. For proper sun blocking protection clothing should fit loosely. Tight-fitting clothing or clothing that is really worn will not protect you much. However, anything is better than nothing.
Roofers, Pay Attention To The Importance Of Taking Breaks
No matter what you’re working on, you need to make sure to get your breaks.
A good employee will monitor their health and practice sun safety. Especially during the summer, a standard or dark roof can double or more in temperature compared to what it is outside.
If it’s over 80 degrees, you are at risk of overexposure and heat illness. Establish a shaded area to take a few breaks throughout your project.
Make sure to stay hydrated. Bring lots of cool water, and don’t only drink when you’re thirsty. If you notice any signs of dizziness, fatigue, cramps, or headaches, it’s certainly time to take a break and get out of the sun.
Help your crew by watching for signs of dehydration. The unstable mental stress dehydration causes can easily result in accidents.
Taking breaks doesn’t have to interfere with the amount of work you get done each day. Plan for the breaks and stay healthy. Women in roofing find their niche by doing well and figuring out how this can work for them
Staying healthy is the first step to becoming a woman roofer, and helping other women find a profession they too can do well in.
Sami’s Take On How Women In Roofing Find Their Niche
My surprise in finding women in roofing made me realize that life in a sleepy country town here in Central Texas is often behind the times. However, this suits us fine.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the whole roofing crew wearing sun hats, sun scarves, long sleeve shirts, and full-length pants. There was plenty of water in cooler chests iced down. They took at least a 2-hour lunch break. They took other quick breaks under the shade trees, or on one of the porches.
Working safer in our heat is important. I am challenged by the career oppurtunities I can see for women in roofing. This is a physical occupation but workers are learning to use the information to stay safe.
Some women are happier in a more active setting. Some had rather have a roof than take jobs that they know how to do. It is entry-level work, but with possibilities to grow and build.
An unskilled worker can learn to roof, as easily as they can learn to clean a house, and wait tables. Having a job that fits your personality is important. Don’t be gender biased as I was.