Dr. Noah Seixas and Dr. Marissa Baker from the University of Washington School of Public Health recently received a five-year, $990,000 grant from the Center for Construction Research and Training to develop and evaluate a mentorship program for women in the sheet metal trades in partnership with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers.
“The construction trades are very male, very macho, very traditional. A very small percentage of women enter, and those who do have a hard time and frequently drop out before they get very far,” said Dr. Seixas, a professor in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences. “But there’s a core group of survivors who have found a way to come to peace with it and do what they love.”
Drs. Seixas and Baker hope to link some of these seasoned survivors with women apprentices who are starting out in the field. Based on previous research by Dr. Seixas, tradeswomen with low social support at work have more than four times the risk of stress as those with high support. Mentors could help lend this support by teaching mentees how to confront biases and hostilities and better cope with these stressors. Empowering women in this way could also encourage them to stay in the trades, which in turn could transform the workplace culture from the inside.
Dr. Baker is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences. Dr. Hendrika Meischke of the School’s Department of Health Services is also part of the research team.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on February 28