The exhibit On Equal Terms: Women in Construction 30 Years & Still Organizing, at the Adams Gallery Jan. 26 - March 17, 2009, celebrates 30 years of women in construction.

On Equal Terms, an installation by artist, poet and educator Susan Eisenberg, grew out of her effort to learn from tradeswoman pioneers about the struggle to bring women into the construction trades. The personal testimonies of the many women she has interviewed inform her work.

Federal policy changes in 1978 opened construction jobs and apprenticeship programs to women, with projections that women would make up 25 percent of the construction work force by now. Yet today women hold only about 2 percent of jobs in the building trades.

Electrician & author

Eisenberg was one of the first women in the country to achieve journey-level status as a union electrician, and she worked on construction sites for 15 years. She is the author of We’ll Call You If We Need You: Experiences of Women Working Construction, a New York Times Notable Book.

Her installation employs soft sculpture, found objects, poetry, story, photography, and audio to explore issues of power and social policy.

“This mixed-media exhibit brings to light the experiences of women in occupations with a long history of discrimination and exclusion,” said Patricia Reeve of the History Department, whose research interests include labor history and the histories of gender and women. “Typically their voices are absent from statistical analyses of and policy debates about affirmative action in the workplace.”


The public is invited to meet Eisenberg at an opening reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30, with a brief program at 6 p.m. Among those attending will be area tradeswomen, whose voices and experiences animate the exhibit.

On Equal Terms: Women in Construction 30 Years & Still Organizing
Jan. 26 - March 17, 2009
Adams Gallery, Sargent Hall, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston
Free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily