Looking for a hard-hatted woman: New film explores America’s intrepid tradeswomen

A new film described as "gritty, funny, endearing, captivating and sometimes brutally honest" has been released exploring the perspectives of the few women in America who work in construction trades.

Six years in the making, Hard Hatted Women, by filmmaker Lorien Barlow, attracted financial support from industry as work progressed.

Despite decades of US government initiatives, only 3% of the American construction workforce are women, a fact that fascinated Barlow.

Speaking to technology firm Bluebeam, Barlow said: "I want to elevate the trades." 

"I want people to see the dignity and the glory of the work, the humour in it, the satisfaction, the reward.

"But I also want people to feel the pain of the fact that we gutted shop class, vocational education, the unions are dying and our infrastructure’s crumbling."

  • Preview the film and read Bluebeam’s interview with the filmmaker here

The film also celebrates the distinct culture of the trades.

"If you are in construction management or you’re an engineer or a project manager, then I would say you are in more of an industry," Barlow said.

"If you’re in the trades, you are definitely in a culture. The trades are so tribal, they have their own language and social codes, it’s almost like an act of translation to spend time among them."

Image: A scene from "Hard Hatted Woman"

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