NAHB PWB Council Celebrates Women's Right to Vote

Committees and Councils

The NAHB Professional Women in Building Council celebrates today's 100th anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting some women the right to vote. But for years after the amendment was ratified, many women — including African-Americans, Native Americans and many immigrants — continued to have difficulty casting ballots until the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965.

Members of the PWB Council recognize that struggle. The Professional Women in Building of Des Moines, Iowa, created a video celebrating the ratified 19th amendment. "It was a very long and hard-fought battle and it would be another 40 years before all women of every race were given the right to vote in every state," the group said, encouraging viewers of the video to use their voices to vote.

"I can only imagine what women will accomplish in the next 100 years. Let us be great leaders, share our voices, and further equality in the housing and building industry," said Betsy Sheppard, the 2020 chair of the NAHB PWB Council.

More than a dozen members of the Des Moines PWB Council and the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines participated in the video, some with their families.

Today, NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke and Sheppard participated in a 100th anniversary virtual event hosted by the Building Industry Association (BIA) San Francisco Bay Area PWB entitled "Be Present. Be Heard" to mark the significant milestone.

Here are more milestones in NAHB's PWB history:

1955: NAHB Women's Auxiliary is chartered. The Building Hope Scholarship awards $1,000.

1964: Auxiliary President Polly Shafer leads a national "Get out to Vote" campaign that contributes to Congress passing a $1 billion housing and urban renewal bill.

1974: First woman builder elected president of the auxiliary.

2009: The Auxiliary's name is changed to NAHB Professional Women in Building.

2012: PWB contributes $38,100 to BUILD-PAC, adds 800-plus PWB members into BuilderLink and 37 PWB BUILD-PAC Stakeholders. National PWB awards more than $35,000 in scholarships to councils and individual members.

2013: Nearly half of the women who serve on the NAHB executive committee have come through the ranks of PWB leadership. Seven PWB members are presidents of their local HBA/BIA.

2015: PWB becomes NAHB's fastest growing council, experiencing a 40% growth in membership.

2018: PWB brings together an elite group of executives from the largest national female-centered construction trade associations to the International Builders' Show to address the labor shortage and share resources that encourage construction training opportunities and leadership paths for women in the industry.

NAHB previously shared resources to help all members participate in this year's elections.

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