Women In Roofing Find Their Niche
Women in roofing find their niche, their place to shine in the male demonited 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 untill 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 completly 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, and caps that had broad bills, deeper that what I was used to seeing.
They had long pants of heavy fabric. I don’t know if any was a 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 arganization, that numbe is growing.
Too often women assume they “can’t” be a roofer. The answer is really making me see how much I am influnced by gender bias. I am not proud of this about myself.
Requirements To Become A Roofer
Obvioulsy females can learn the basic skills of being a roofer. They can gain the 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 need to be done to shelter families and even businesses from the elements.
Doing what needs doing and taking care of their familes is what women have done for ever. 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 by 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 contracter with crew.
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 a happy and healthy life in a safe home.
Catherine Brennen, Owner of PRONAIL Roofing & Construction in Texas states, “The question I get asked most often in my industry is,’Do you get on the roof? I want to reassure everone that women can climb on the roof just like men can.”
“What I think is amazing about this industry is that it is gender-neutral. You’re able to go into a home and talk with homeowners. Probably 80% of the time I’m sitting down with the wife or the mom talking about their damage, and what we can do to improve their situation. “
“Women in the roofing industry are absolutely needed, respected, and there’s huge growth potential in our market.” Ms Brennen is very encouraging about the future of women roofing and how they will be a great addition to the industry.
Blinded By Gender Bias
Often women allow themselves to be blinded by gender bias and thinking that some jobs are for men only. And some may be. Women in the roofing industry are showing the world that roofing is not one of them.
What ever encourages the growth potentioa for for women in roofing is giving a whole new area for women to work and prove their ability to activily participate in the worlds ecomony.
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 roofing as a profession.
Being able to learn and train to use the information, tools and products that are used andneeded in the profession increases the underastanding. This gives the women a better prospective 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 it’s challenges Amoung them is the gender bias that they “can’t” do the work. Many women feel inteminated by lack of skills. This is a problem, but one that can be taken care of through training.
Often there are self esteeme 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 is valuable for easier success. When I started my first beauty salon, the support that was shared by the State chapters of Costomotiligists 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 give you configence.
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.
“We need to turn back around, reach out and help the next one in line, and pull them up with us,” says Jennifer Keegan, Director of Building and Roofing Science at GAF, explaining why NWIR (National Women In Roofing) is so impactful. Keegan also serves on NWIR’s executive board. “We need to be the catalyst for change so our industry evolves the current framework to attract and retain more women. NWIR provides the platform to connect us together so we can truly make a difference.”
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 protecting 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 through the day as 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 coat 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 cataract. Choose wrap around lens or oversized lens for best protection from the sun.
So 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.
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 breath 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 out 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 thightly 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. The 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 becomea 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 SPF 100, which blocks 99%.
Sunblocking creams are better than sunscreen to protect your skin. If you have good sun blocking clothing, applying 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 learm to use sun blocking cream this winter, especially on the or tops of my hands. They are long overdue 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.
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 along 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 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 dehyderation 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 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 herein Central Texas is often behind the times. However, this suits us fine.
I was plesantly surprised to see the whole roofing crew wearing sun hats, sun scarves, longsleeve shirts, 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 information to stay safe.
Some women are happier in a more active setting. Some had rather 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, or learn to clean house, wait tables. Having a job that fits your personality is important. Don’t be gender biased as I was.