MOXY, an online magazine, celebrates the achievements of women in infrastructure and actively supports their professional growth, mental well-being, and entrepreneurial ambitions.
With a background in infrastructure communications, Dutcher, the former editor of Asphalt Pavement magazine (now called NAPA Quarterly), and Ozybko, a co-founder of the non-profit Women of Asphalt, were well aware of how limited women’s perspectives are in infrastructure and trades.
“There are so many project stories out there that feature the male voice because that's who's the project manager. We see that in the daily content of all stripes, from all angles, throughout the year,” says Dutcher. “We’re for women every day. We want to showcase women, see them be excited about sharing, about seeing themselves featured consistently.”
Consistency is key for MOXY, whose founders recognized that the industry nods of a single publication each year devoted to women in the field or a “Women in…” organization couldn’t meet the needs of a growing demographic of skilled workers.
“If there's women of asphalt, if there's women in sand, stone and gravel; if there's women in metal work, then why isn't there just a big umbrella for all of them to learn from each other? To recognize and celebrate the silos, but also cut across them,” says Dutcher. That’s where MOXY provides a space for women to learn from one another, finding out which skills are transferrable to other industries, helping them to grow in their chosen fields or advance to different ones. It’s the place to showcase different jobs, to figure out if you want to build a bridge instead of a road and how to make the leap.
MOXY recognizes the particular challenges that women face in infrastructure sectors, fields that even in the 21st century continue to be dominated by men. Being the only woman on a construction site or on a road crew or in a boardroom, the only one involved in designing a schematic or managing a project is an experience that’s both unique to individuals and universal across industries. Reading or listening to other women who have shared the experience, learning from those experiences, and gaining confidence from them gives women workers the chance to develop in their careers and mentor and uplift other women in the field.
Part of MOXY’s mission is also to be resource for employees wanting to hire women. They have a job board to help both current and future women advance in infrastructure careers. The team sees the potential for a sort of “MOXY seal of approval,” a process to educate employers on how to attract and retain women workers while building women’s confidence in their ability to apply for, be selected and succeed at infrastructure jobs.
“We want to do more. We want to give it some more action,” Dutcher says. “[We want] to get companies buying in, to give women the opportunity to research and really get to know a company before they apply, to get job descriptions written in ways at that are more open so women can think, ‘Oh, I can apply to this. I can be here. I can switch. I can grow.’ It would benefit the employer and the employee.”
As North American society as a whole and infrastructure industries in particular face a “silver tsunami” of Baby Boomers retiring from the workforce, the importance of attracting more, and more diverse, workers can’t be overstated. Dutcher points out the benefits that MOXY highlights to women contemplating a career in infrastructure.
“It’s very lucrative,” she says frankly. “It's not just about getting dirty. We’ve heard so many stories of women starting off in a trade, and some stay with it because they love the physical aspect. [But others may be] looking for an in, a way to grow into project management, or research, or doing case studies, or even political areas – state and road funding, DOT-type stuff. You can start small and really grow. There's a lot of on-the-job training available.”
At the same time that MOXY celebrates infrastructure careers for women, it doesn’t shy away from acknowledging their challenges.
“We also see the difficult signs: being that lone voice, being the only woman in the room and the challenges that sometimes lead into a mental health downward spiral. We're not afraid to talk about that, so a lot of the women have been very appreciative of the authenticity,” Dutcher says.
In addition to connecting employers with employees, MOXY also sees itself as a place for women starting their own business, providing resources and guidance to female entrepreneurs in infrastructure. Identifying grants and subsidies, helping women business owners to determine their eligibility, and providing support are other ways that MOXY seeks to uplift women in trades.
Dutcher believes that more women will continue to enter the trades and hope to encourage, support and, yes, share some MOXY, to help women excel.
Top 5: Advice from MOXY for Women in Infrastructure
1. Seek Consistent Representation: Engage with platforms that consistently highlight women’s achievements in infrastructure. Regular exposure to female role models in the field can inspire and motivate you in your career.
2. Learn Across Industries: Take advantage of opportunities to learn from women in various infrastructure sectors. Whether it's asphalt, metalwork, or construction, understanding the transferable skills and experiences from different areas can broaden your career possibilities.
3. Utilize Resources for Career Growth: Make use of resources aimed at helping women in infrastructure, like job boards and employer guides. These tools can assist you in finding companies committed to supporting women and help you navigate career advancement opportunities.
4. Embrace Networking and Mentorship: Connect with other women in infrastructure. Learning from their experiences and challenges can provide valuable insights and support. Networking can also open doors to new opportunities and mentorship.
5. Address Challenges Openly: Acknowledge and discuss the unique challenges faced as a woman in a male-dominated field, including mental health considerations. Platforms should provide a safe space to share these experiences and find support from those who understand your journey.
Images courtesy of MOXY.