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Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment for Women

SeeHerWork, a company that designs, manufactures and sells workwear, safety equipment and other job-specific products for women in commercial and industrial careers, has been created as solution to ill-fitting Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment (PPE) available to tradeswomen. "SeeHerWork aims to make female talent safer, stronger and more productive," said a company spokesperson.

According to more than 2,700 contractors, construction managers, builders and trade contractors surveyed in the latest Commercial Construction Index, 91% reported having a difficult or moderately difficult time finding skilled workers. With women talent largely untapped in commercial, industrial and civil careers and making up only 3% of the workforce, bringing in more women for these jobs is a potential solution to the U.S. labor shortage.

"Making PPE that fits the female form available to women is the first step in making women more comfortable in these high paying occupations that are experiencing labor shortages," said Jane Henry, Founder of SeeHerWork. "Women want to excel at their jobs, but ill-fitting PPE is holding them back."

Despite construction and excavation occupations offering the closest rate of equal pay between genders according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current state of PPE available to women creates barriers to entry and retention. Ill-fitting PPE creates safety hazards, keeps women from performing at their best on the job and perpetuates the myth that men are better fit for these careers.

Over 150 women die each year from work related accidents-many of which could be prevented with properly fitting clothing and equipment. Rather than being provided well-fitting workwear, women are given men sized patterns that are just shrunk down, causing a multitude of safety issues.

In 2014 the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued a report summarizing interviews with 475 tradeswomen. In it, women voice major safety concerns about PPE. SeeHerWork also conducted over 50 focus group sessions for a 2018 study and heard similar complaints.

"We heard story after story of how rather than providing protection, the PPE given to women on the job often compromises safety," said Henry. "Multiple tradeswomen told us how they sometimes have to tape themselves up with duct tape to keep extra material from flying around or abandon protective gear altogether in order to obtain the dexterity needed, which can expose them to potential hazards."

According to 2016 research from the Peterson Institute, companies in the top 25% in gender diversity of their workforce were 46% more likely to outperform their industry average. More diverse workforces are more productive, innovative and embrace a broader range of views.

SeeHerWork designs, manufactures and sells workwear, safety equipment and other job-specific products to help women in commercial and industrial careers stay safe and aid them in performing at a high level. Most options available for women today are for men. Items that work for both genders are rare, yet women need properly fitted clothing and equipment to be safe.

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