Women of Asphalt Council Seeks to Attract Women to Lucrative Careers

Women of Asphalt council made their debut at World of Asphalt 2018, ready to take on industry stereotypes


Despite composing almost half of workers in all occupations (47%), women make up only 2.6% of workers in construction and extraction occupations. And while there are one million women employed in the construction industry, women only comprise approximately 9% of the actual construction workforce. In our industry, that equates to a mere 7,000 women who work out in the field. Why?

Female careers in the construction industry have remained shockingly low – under 3% – for decades, due in large part to the discrimination that blocks women from entering and staying in the field. Sexual harassment and hostility, lack of mentors, and stereotyped assumptions about women’s capabilities all contribute to the problem.

The Women of Asphalt Council (WOAC) has high hopes to change that.

Attracting Women to Asphalt

For the past eight months, Amy Miller, P.E., national director of the Asphalt Pavement Alliance, has worked to unite women in the asphalt industry, raising awareness of the roadblocks facing women and funds to help the cause gain momentum.

During a panel at World of Asphalt, the WOAC debuted their goals and hopes for the council in the future.

“Our vision is to lead and inspire women in the asphalt industry,” Natasha Ozybko, regional sales manager at Road Science and founding member of WOAC says. “The Women of Asphalt Council has four goals; to foster and promote mentoring and networking opportunities; create professional developmental opportunities through education and training; advocate for women; and encourage other women them to join the asphalt industry.”

And the industry needs all the help it can get attracting those workers. With over 10 million people employed in the construction industry, nearly 75% of companies are still reporting they cannot find the skilled workers they need. Furthermore, it’s projected we will need 1.6 million new workers by 2022.

“It’s pretty obvious we need to expand the workforce,” Audrey Copeland, Ph.D., P.E with the National Asphalt Pavement Association says. “There is an urgency to attract women to the industry. We need to highlight how good we have it and create an attractive environment for them.”

And women in construction really do have it good. In most fields, female workers make only 80 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts working full time, year round. In construction however, that wage gap is much smaller with women making 95.7 cents on the dollar compared to men.

“That’s good news,” Copeland says. “That’s something we should be talking about to get women in to the field.”

Copeland says women in construction can take home approximately $757 per week, a wage that’s right in the middle in terms of general industry wages.

“You’re not at the bottom, you’re right in the middle and the potential is there to do well,” Copeland says. “We know looking at the economy that we’re going up. Things are looking good and there is a lot of potential.”

Next Steps

The launch of the council at World of Asphalt was just the beginning for this important movement.

“We look forward to growing this program and we have a lot to build upon,” Tracy Schlich, director of marketing & membership at the Asphalt Institute says. “We’re doing this for all of us. We are always looking for suggestions and we would love to hear more from you.”

It’s not just important for women to champion this cause, it’s important for everyone in this growing industry to bring in all the talent we can. Without skilled workers, the opportunity for construction to thrive will be stifled.

To get involved, visit https://womenofasphaltcouncil.com and sign up for their newsletter to see where they will be next.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/womenofasphaltcouncil

Twitter: @womenofasphalt

A big thank you to the WOAC founding members who are forging a path for all of us:

Amy Miller, Asphalt Pavement Alliance

 Ashley Batson, South Carolina Pavement Association 

Audrey Copeland, National Asphalt Pavement Alliance 

Natasha Ozybko, Road Science, a Division of ArrMaz  

Jill Thomas, Minnesota Asphalt Pavement Association 

Nicole Corbin, Asphalt Institute 

Gayla Stokes, Shell Bitumen

Suzy McManmon, Wiregrass