This Toronto company breaks down barriers for women in construction

A construction company in Toronto is breaking down barriers for women who want to work in the industry.

Natasha Ferguson is the owner of Ethelfox Construct Group, a company made up of 70 percent female construction workers.

They focus on interior and exterior home renovations, including tiling and flooring, roofing and plasterboard installation.

Through her journey to owning Ethelfox, Ferguson has experienced many instructive moments – moments that have made her understand how racist and misogynistic the construction industry can be.

“It’s a male-dominated industry, and it’s not pretty,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson worked in advertising agencies before she started her business. About five years ago, she started two companies for roofing and landscaping with her husband, who also works in construction.

In her experience owning these companies, Ferguson says she was hardly taken seriously by those with whom she interacted on a daily basis.

“There would be times where I would hire entrepreneurs and they would mess up my projects on purpose just because they don’t take me seriously as a woman,” Ferguson said.

Other times, contractors would get frustrated about her projects and just get up and leave the site without saying anything to her, Ferguson tells blogTO.

“I’d think to myself ‘I pay people, why is this happening?’ but it’s because of where I’m in the industry, it’s all about which ball is bigger, and I don’t have balls, ”Ferguson said.

All of that experience made Fergus understand how many women, but especially women of color, were mistreated in the industry. She used this as fuel to start Ethelfox.

In 2020, Ferguson learned that her mother had only three months to live, after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.

Ethelfox was named after Ferguson’s mother and youngest daughter, the mother helped with rebranding the company, including choosing the logo before she died.

In addition to creating a team of female workers at Ethelfox construction, Ferguson recently started a non-profit group called A Woman’s Work.

The group provides resources, training programs and support for how women can handle themselves by entering such a male-dominated industry.

Recently, Ethefox has been recognized as one of the Best Businesses in Canada by the Canadian Business Review Board.

Additionally, the company earned $ 5,000 to grow its business through the City of Toronto’s Starter Company Female Founders Program.

“My team and I are unique. Not just because we are women working in this industry, but because we are women who do viable work,” Ferguson said.

“Each of my teammates comes from a place of new beginnings and so I’m glad to continue to provide guidance as we change the ideas of stories about sexual bias and stereotypes about women in the construction industry.”

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