In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity. A special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women. Did you know former President Jimmy Carter declared March 2-8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week? Thank you Mr. President for your forward-thinking observance of the contributions of women. It really wasn’t that long ago when women weren’t as well received in the workplace.

My father was born in 1939 and unfortunately felt women were best in support roles. He believed if a woman was in management she didn’t earn it. I respected his career and him as a father, but I always felt ashamed and frustrated that he had this mindset. I knew that it was in part his generation and in part too that he was a Southerner from Texas. I am grateful in some ways he wasn’t supportive because that only fueled me to not just have a career but be a leader in my field due to hard work and perseverance.  I know many others can relate. You know you have had to work hard to prove yourself and overcome judgment, oppression, lack of respect, jealousy, and stereotypes.

For the remainder of the month, I challenge every woman to look at any of the obstacles you have faced due to your gender and be grateful for the lesson and for the motivation it gave you to overcome.  Tenacity is certainly a trait I think of when I think of women. Go with it. It’s a power you have and it’s yours to use!

To all the men, empower the women around you!  Know that if they are over 50 they have struggled in the workplace. They may have been forced to wear dresses and skirts to work. They may have even been told that they couldn’t have colored nail polish and that they needed to cater to the men in the office.  They also may have been told they only had their job because of their looks implying it wasn’t on merit. Or presumed dumb because they were blonde or had to deal with constant sexism at work. They may have experienced condescending bosses who wouldn’t have treated a male subordinate the same way.

This is just a reminder that many of us have experienced so many grievances and everyone deserves grace and equity. All of us learned the Declaration of Independence, “…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty the pursuit of happiness.

Thank you to all the women of the world for every part you’ve played because each role is valuable. For those women who broke barriers and soared, thank you for your bravery and for demonstrating a path for future women to not just dream but fulfill them.  For all the women in construction, thank you for not being afraid to thrive in a male-dominated industry. For your vigor to face whatever comes your way. For believing you can be a carpenter, an engineer, an architect, a designer, a scientist, an archaeologist, a laborer, a project manager, a CEO, a marketer, a project admin, etc.  You belong and we need to let more women know our industry wants them and supports them.



Kelly Jackson is the Executive Director of SLC3 (St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers). She has 25 years of AEC industry experience. Kelly previously spent a number of years as a paralegal and working legal marketing. She spent a number of years growing her marketing career into leadership roles and ultimately into Business Development. In 2011, she began a marketing agency primarily serving the AEC industry as well as many start-ups. In September 2018, she was chosen to lead the SLC3 after her predecessor retired after 27 years of service. She became the first female Executive Director to lead the organization. Since then she has created the women’s leadership committee to support the women in the membership providing much needed soft-skill education and connection to each other. Kelly has formed other women’s groups in St. Louis and supports a number of women charities. She believes women’s needs in the workforce are different than men’s and more is needed to support those needs.