From White Gloves to HardHats:


(MIAMI)  2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the Miami Chapter of National Women in Construction (NAWIC), and the year-long celebration kicks off during Women In Construction Week (March 6-12), and Women’s History Month.

Events include a Builders Boot Camp, a membership party at the historic 94th AeroSquadron restaurant, and 50 women in hardhats for a jobsite tour/photo opp.  The special guest will be a “living portrait” of Miami’s first woman in construction: pioneer developer Julia Tuttle (the “Mother of Miami” who convinced Henry Flagler to bring his railroad here in 1895) for the creation of a 50th anniversary commemorative poster (photos and video b-roll will be available to the media upon request).

“Miami women were ahead of their time in 1961, establishing one of NAWIC’s very first local chapters,” says Clare Whelan, President of Miami Women in Construction and CEO of Doors Inc.  “Now, 50 years later, most of our Board and many of our members are running their own construction businesses. Women are changing the face of Miami’s construction scene with every new project they lead, and more hardhats are being worn by women on jobs than ever before.

NAWIC’s mission is to enhance the success of women in the construction industry, and during Women in Construction Week, local chapters give back to their communities and raise awareness of women’s growing role in the industry.  NAWIC is an international association serving more than 5,500 members and 150 chapters in the United States, plus affiliates in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom. “This is the perfect way to kick off our 50th Anniversary year-long celebration,” said Whelan, who was also Executive Producer of Miami’s Centennial celebrations in 1996.  “For 50 years, our local chapter has raised funds to provide scholarships for Miami’s young women in construction management degrees, and developed educational and networking programs for Miami’s women business leaders.”

In 1961, when Miami Women In Construction’s founders created the local chapter, the world was a very different place.  That year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld rules adopted by the state of Florida (Hoyt vs. Florida) that discouraged women to be called for jury service on the grounds that “a woman is regarded as the center of home and family life.”  Paraguay had just become the last Republic in the Americas to grant women the right to vote.  In 1961, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act.  It was the year that President Kennedy established the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt.  Professional women in Washington, DC, organized the “Women’s Strike for Peace” to protest the resumption of A-bomb tests, and women Freedom Riders tested new laws prohibiting segregation on interstate buses.  In the midst of all this historic change, Audrey Hepburn starred as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

“Fifty years ago, when those visionary Miami women founded our local NAWIC chapter, I wasn’t even allowed to take Shop class at school,” adds Whelan.  “Thankfully, that’s changed. Today, the top women-owned businesses in Florida each employ an average of 9,000 people, boasting per-company revenues of $5 million or more.”

To learn more about NAWIC Miami, visit