As we continue to celebrate Women in Construction Week 2021, we would like to highlight Fathima Lahar! Fathima has been an Assistant Project Manager at Astra for a little over a year, and she has made a big impact in that short time. She is always ready to tackle new projects with a great attitude and impressive dedication. Read her interview below to learn more about Fathima and what entering the construction industry has been like for her.
Q: How did you get started in industry?
A: I pursued my Master’s in Construction management from Georgia Tech which opened my doors into construction.
Q: How often are you at the job site?
A: It’s hard to account for, as we don’t know when there would be a need to be on site. If everything goes really well on site, I spend much time in the office. However, this is construction, and not everything goes as planned. There are a lot of unexpected situations, and so we have to juggle between being on site and being in the office. But, I try to be onsite at least once a week. We also used to have Owner and Subcontractor meetings onsite (pre-COVID).
Q: Do you think it’s hard being a woman in male-dominated industry?
A: It could be for some, but for me, I would like to say, ‘Never’. I believe women are mentally stronger and can achieve anything with their hard work. Also, I believe women are good decisionmakers which is a must for surpassing in this industry.
If they [women] are willing to do their best and have the right attitude, any woman can shine like a diamond in any group she goes into, be it male-dominated or not.
Q: How has Astra or your supervisors supported you in your position?
A: At Astra, I have the flexibility of learning both from the job site and the office setting. I also have a great team that is always willing to help. Additionally, I have the right work-life balance here.
Q: Are you aware of the tools and resources available, i.e., NAWIC and do you use them?
A: Yes, I have been a member of NAWIC since my university days at Georgia Tech. I even had a mentor through NAWIC who always surprised me with her abilities managing work and family.
Q: What’s one thing you wish you could change?
A: I wish I could break the stigma that ‘construction is for men’.
Q: What do you hope to see in the future with regard to women working in construction?
A: I hope to see the new generation girls eliminating the ‘stereotypic perception’ about construction being a physically tiring job that suits men as they are physically stronger than women. This is a great industry with a wide range of opportunities for women. I also wish the industry would give more consideration for working mothers juggling between job sites and childcare.