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February 26, 2024
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February 26, 2024

UMass Boston’s Susan Moir Is Awarded a Fulbright Grant

UMass Boston faculty member Susan Moir has been awarded Fulbright grant to study women in the construction industry in India. 

UMass Boston faculty member Susan Moir has been awarded Fulbright grant to study women in the construction industry in India. 

Susan Moir, director of the University of Massachusetts Boston Labor Resource Program, has just been awarded a Fulbright grant to study women in the construction industry in India.

Moir’s research area is on women having access to good-paying jobs in the construction industry here in the United States. She has been doing research on and off for the past 30 years and recently partnered with an organization called the Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues (PGTI) that’s been around for seven years. Moir sees the need to bring diversity to this industry—not just gender diversity, but also racial.

“I always say if you get 50 women in Dudley square[,] 50 women in Grove Hall[,] and 50 women in Mattapan who have these good-paying jobs, you not only chang[e] them and their families, the street, you change the whole community.” Moir shares her theory on how bringing women and women of color into this industry has a greater effect on the economy: “Th[e] Construction itself as a part of the economy has what you call a multiplier effect.”

There are three goals to Moir’s mission to go to India and study construction: studying the condition of women in the construction industry, making women’s organization and labor unions in India aware of the working conditions of women in the U.S. construction industry, and establishing individual and organizational relationships to form future international exchanges and an understanding of women in the global construction sector.

Thirty years ago, the federal government passed an executive order that said that any construction site that gets government money would use women’s labor for 6.9 percent of its hours. In the early 80s, Turner and others got a city ordinance saying any project in Boston would be 10 percent women’s hours.
Even though these laws were passed, women’s hours were still about 2 percent comparing to men’s hours. Women from all over the world train for construction jobs and are not getting hired for jobs. Women are at a disadvantage, especially if they have kids, because they have to make accommodations for their kids. Many times on construction sites they only have a moment’s notice about overtime, but women usually cannot take advantage of this because they have to take care of their kids.
Moir is taking a two part-trip starting January 2016, staying for three months and then returning within 18 months. The Fulbright grant is covering Moir’s travel as well as her living expenses.