An open letter to the employees of Birdsmouth Construction and the building industry at large:

January 21, 2018, by Joshua Salinger

On the 1-year anniversary of the women’s march on Washington, I find myself wondering what more I can do to be part of the fledgling social change that’s taking root across the country. As an aspiring ally, how do I best support and amplify the voices of women without talking over or taking ownership of their message?

In talking with my wife, I’ve realized I have a pretty unique and important opportunity as the owner of a construction company. Women make up less than 3 percent of the workforce in the building industry. Sexism, sexual harassment, hostility, and negative assumptions about women’s abilities have kept women out of jobs that they’re more than capable of performing. This isn’t just unfair to women. It’s a huge loss for clients and business owners all along the supply chain.
We have several outstanding female project managers, carpenters, and administrative professionals on our team. That’s a good start. But here’s the message I want to send today to all our employees: Sexual harassment of any kind and the more insidious, everyday misogyny women face will not be tolerated on Birdsmouth jobs. I want the women who work for us to understand that I’m listening, I believe you, and there will be consequences for subcontractors, employees, vendors, or anyone we interact with who harass or abuse you in any way. And this is very important: I want and expect the men on our team to speak out when they see sexist behavior. I’m challenging myself to do the same. We must become aware of our blind spots and do the uncomfortable work of calling each other out. Men have had free reign in our industry for far too long. It’s our problem to fix. And it’s long past time for a change.
We stand with women on this and every day. Thank you for everything you do.
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