FOR "NON-TRADITIONAL" WOMEN EVERYWHERE

 Hard Hatted Woman honors in spirit all "non-traditional" job pioneers. One such woman is Brenda Berkman, who overcame extraordinary obstacles to become one of the first female firefighters in New York City. She fought and won a civil suit against the FDNY in 1982 for discrimination against women, and went on to retire in 2006 with the rank of Captain. Her legacy has been to crack open the doors for female firefighters, although their struggle continues: out of nearly 11,000 firefighters at the FDNY today, only 37 are women--less than 1%.

Hard Hatted Woman honors in spirit all "non-traditional" job pioneers. One such woman is Brenda Berkman, who overcame extraordinary obstacles to become one of the first female firefighters in New York City. She fought and won a civil suit against the FDNY in 1982 for discrimination against women, and went on to retire in 2006 with the rank of Captain. Her legacy has been to crack open the doors for female firefighters, although their struggle continues: out of nearly 11,000 firefighters at the FDNY today, only 37 are women--less than 1%.

Many of the challenges women in construction face are not particular to them but rather common if not universal experiences for women in male-dominated occupations. There are pioneering women in many other non-traditional fields--manufacturing, transportation, STEM fields, firefighting, military and law enforcement, and so many more--and they are every one of them breaking ground. Those women know who they are, and Hard Hatted Woman honors them in spirit. The mission of the film is to empower women in "non-traditional" jobs everywhere, and to inspire the next generation of young women to consider these careers.

WHY FOCUS ON CONSTRUCTION?

With so many remarkable women breaking ground in diverse fields, why have we chosen to focus on the building trades? We were drawn to construction sites for many reasons--visually, they are beautiful and fascinating places. Also, construction is familiar to us all. The building trades collectively produce the structures we see everyday. But beyond these intuitive reasons, we also wanted to report on the ongoing viability of construction careers. Currently there is a major skills gap and labor shortage facing the industry as a whole generation retires, and to solve this problem the industry must embrace diversity and change. We believe women should make up at least 25% of the next generation workforce.  Lastly, because our buildings, bridges, and roads must always be built in the U.S.A., the opportunities in building and construction trades will endure for a long time to come.

why focus on unionized trades?

We have chosen to focus on unionized trades for three simple reasons. First, union apprenticeship programs have provided by far the most viable pathway for women to enter these careers, offering paid training and free education while acquiring skills and mentoring. Second, the economic advantages of these careers exist only because unions have fought for such strong wages, benefits, and worker protections. Third, the process of union democracy has given tradeswomen a voice and an opportunity to organize and build a movement for change. For all of these reasons, unions have played a fundamental role in the tradeswoman story, which is why they play a fundamental role in the film.