In a career as male-dominated as construction, where women make up less than 3 percent of the workforce, the best way to handle sexism is often to fight back. That's what works for ironworker Ambra Melendez at least.
In a conversation with HuffPost Live about a new film currently in production titled "Hard Hatted Woman," Melendez joked that she often has to tell men to "go f**k themselves" -- the point being to not back down in the face of sexism.
Particularly in fields requiring physical work, the idea of what men are "supposed" to do and what women are not informs a workplace culture that is often dismissive of women's abilities.
"The construction site is raw... You have to adjust to everything out there and you have to accept the fact that you're going to get dirty," Melendez said. "You have to have the strength to get up and continue to do the job... Men do it all the time, and there's nothing wrong with that, why can't I do that? I'm just as tough as the rest of them."
Melendez offered a relevant anecdote of when she offered her advice to a fellow worker who both ignored her and subsequently told her to "shut the f**k up," when her guidance proved necessary to complete the task at hand. She shared a pretty perfect reaction male colleagues' refusal to take women's advice:
"If you don't want to do it, I'll get in there and do it for you and we can skip all this bullsh*t."
Watch the video above to hear women explain the sexism they’ve experienced and watch the full conversation about women working in construction here.
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