Silhouette of women walking

A Construction Company’s Push Against Catcalling

When boys grow into men and take on jobs to support their growing families, or even just to support their single lifestyles, the generally accepted notion is that these men would have stopped objectifying women in public now that they have grown up. However, the sad truth is that catcalling construction workers are still a reality in the construction world, and many are starting to investigate contractor responsibility when it comes to employee behavior.

Catcalling Is Not Just A Harmless Thing

Silhouette of women walking

According to Cosmopolitan Magazine, catcalling construction workers are causing more psychological damage than they may realize. Women who are catcalled are more likely to fear for their safety in public situations, and they may also feel as though they have no option for protecting themselves in public.

Objectifying women in any setting is a horrible practice, but doing it in an open public setting tears down any sense that women may have of being safe in public. Cosmo’s study showed that catcalling had a negative effect on women of all ages and races, and it also showed that most women suffer psychological damage when they are catcalled.

The Brooklyn Construction Boom

Building Progress indicates that 26,026 residential building permits were issued in Brooklyn in 2015, which is up considerably from the 7,551 permits that were issued in 2014. These numbers indicate that there is going to be a lot more construction going on in Brooklyn for the foreseeable future, and that could mean problems for the female population in the borough.

Once again, the issue comes back to contractor responsibility for the behavior of their employees. Are contractors responsible for the actions of men who prefer to act like boys? The debate about employee behavior is a difficult one because employers feel like they cannot always be held accountable for the random actions of their workers. But in Brooklyn, one construction company has decided that it is time to make its workers, and the workers of its subcontractors, accountable for their actions.

Tagging Workers In Brooklyn

Greenland Forest City Partners is the general contractor working on the Pacific Park development project in Brooklyn, and Greenland has had to deal with countless complaints of catcalling construction workers from local female residents. Since many of the complaints are being relayed through the police, Greenland decided that the problem was significant enough that it needed to be addressed.

Greenland has developed a color-coding system that residents can use to register complaints about catcalling directly to the company’s field supervisors. Each worker now wears a colored sticker on their hard hat and a card of the same color in a lanyard around their necks. Whenever a worker catcalls someone, the victim can report the catcall directly to a supervisor using the color system. Residents have received a printed flier about the color-coding system, and the job site has posters all around it outlining the system as well.

Construction workers on site

Catcalling Solution Is Not Close Enough

While some of the residents appreciate the effort Greenland has made, a majority of women in the area say that the system Greenland has in place is akin to doing nothing about the problem. There is a considerable gap between the sidewalks and the work site, which makes seeing the individual who did the catcalling difficult. Even if the victim could see the individual catcaller, it would be extremely difficult to see a sticker or card to determine which contractor they worked for. The other problem is that there is no way to report individual catcallers with the new system.

The last thing a contractor wants is to have problems with the local residents over catcalling construction workers. This open act of objectifying women gives the contractor a bad reputation, and it causes psychological damage to the victims. It is also difficult for contractors to control grown men who insist on acting like middle school boys.

With the amount of construction in Brooklyn on the rise, residents are looking for someone to take a stand against catcalling. One Brooklyn general contractor has taken action against catcalling, but the actions seem insufficient to the victims. In the end, catcalling is a problem construction companies will have to solve if they want to have the kind of relationship with the local community that allows the work to get done without incident, and without costly delays.

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