With her hard hat in hand, Bethany Marcias-Cabada leaves behind her nine-to-five office workweek and heads to the Las Vegas airport. She’s on her way to install low-voltage audio/video pre-wiring in Carson City, Nevada.

Marcias-Cabada volunteered during a snowy week in January on the construction site for a new Kingdom Hall where congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses will meet in Carson City.

To be entrusted with this work makes me feel like I have a purpose,” said Marcias-Cabada. She added that making the decision to travel from her home in Las Vegas to volunteer was, “a nobrainer.”

Women represent only 3.9% of tradespeople working in construction nationally, according to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research report that cites U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

By contrast, the Witnesses’ construction projects regularly see large percentages of female volunteers, both skilled and unskilled.

We would be lost without our vast number of women volunteers,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Their attention to detail, high quality of work and infectious enthusiasm are all vital to the success of our building projects.”

When the Witnesses moved their headquarters from Brooklyn, New York, upstate to the town of Warwick in recent years, the construction project drew some 27,000 volunteers from around the country, 25% of

Women like Tierra Osborne of Reno, Nevada. Osborne has been volunteering at the Carson City build since December, where she has received intensive training to inspect and repair brake pads and tires on the project’s on-site construction trailers. Osborne recalls the first time she completed necessary repairs on her own.

It felt very empowering!” she said. “I’d never done anything like that. So, it was really exciting.”

Reflecting on the time she spent volunteering on the build, Marcias-Cabada appreciates having the opportunity to learn and use new skills along with other female volunteers.

“Whether you’re a man or a woman, you can have the same skills … and be utilized in the same way.”

Osborne expressed a similar sentiment about men and women working shoulder to shoulder. “It makes you feel good that you’re not (excluded) from anything.”

Since construction began in November, Witness volunteers have come from the three local congregations that will use the Carson City facility, and from as far away as Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The project is scheduled for completion in February.

For more information about Jehovah’s Witnesses, their history, beliefs and construction activities, visit their official website, jw.org, with content available in more than 1,000 languages.

whom were women.

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