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Women in construction are sparking change & breaking down walls

Women make up only 2% of those working in the construction industry nationwide.

SAN DIEGO — The construction industry is a male-dominated field but these women in San Diego are breaking down barriers and opening doors for the next generation of women in the business.

It’s an industry where only 2% of it’s workers are women, but these women told me they have no regrets about working in Construction.

Being ‘Tough as Nails’ isn’t just about physical strength in construction. As the hit CBS show demonstrates, it’s also about mental toughness and intelligence.

“You’re always having to think. You’re always having to come up with some new solution for some problem,” said  April Hatton, a Foreman with Pro-Cal Lighting in Vista. 

Hatton has been an electrician for eight years, specializing in low-voltage and inside wiring. Today she’s one of the few women in leadership.

“I make sure everybody’s taken care of, doing their job, all the paperwork’s put in from my side, and work on everything at the same time,” Hatton said. 

Journeyman Cristina Marquez, recruits women like Hatton for the Electrical Training Institute in San Diego.

“Every time I see a woman come in to apply, I’m like here’s my card because we need more women in the industry,” Marquez said. 

Xenia Miranda, with Local Union 229, has been one of the few women ironworkers for the last 39 years but it didn’t happen without some challenges, like having equipment that fit or even having a women’s restroom to use while working.

“The mentality of a lot of the older men I’d worked with said 'what are doing here, you should be at home in the kitchen, you’re taking a man’s job'. I’ve worked with those kind of people for so long now, I don’t get those kind of comments anymore because they know I’m not going away,” Miranda said.

All of the women say they mentor young women coming into the industry and participate in support groups for women in construction. 

Marquez said that an electrical apprenticeship can take from three months to a year to complete and if you want more information you can go to Electrical Training Institute of San Diego & Imperial Counties. You can also catch Tough as Nails Wednesday nights right here on CBS 8.

WATCH: Women's History Month: Nora Vargas, the 1st Latina San Diego County Board Supervisor

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