The hazy cloud of ignorance

Use of tobacco among Indian WomenSharon Fukayama was 59 when her husband passed away, leaving her with not just a house but  also maintenance


work that he always took care of. The Arizona-based retired citizen went online to look for instructions and came across Workshop For Women, accompany that offers classes to teach women home

 

improvement skills. It didn’t matter to Fukayama that the workshop was located in the neighbouring state of Denver, Colorado.

“I waited until I could comfortably drive to Denver and stay a few weeks. I took as many classes as possible in that time, and am now comfortable changing an outlet and a light switch. I also carried with me an air cleaner that needed a new plug because a dog had chewed on it. I was amazed that I had fixed it in less than five minutes at theworkshop,” recalls Fukayama, who plans to return to Denver this month for more classes.

In countries where labour is expensive and a small electrical or plumbing job can cost a fortune, women have traditionally had to rely on husbands or sons for home maintenance. Butthat is slowly giving in to

A new trend, where women are learning to be their own handywomen. Power tools & power women

Judy Browne, the creator and founder of Workshop for Women, started the company after she realised the need to support women in learning the basics of home improvements.“One of the greatest advantages

of taking these classes is the knowledge and power it gives to women whether they choose to do the tasks themselves sorto hire them out. With the knowledge they gain they are no longer at a disadvantage

when hiring a professional. They know the questions to ask and they also know when a job has been done correctly,” says the manufacturing engineer, who quit her job of 20 years to venture into more fulfiling

territory. The Home Depot Canada has been holding free Do-It-Yourself (DIY) workshops for women in all their stores. “We saw a strong interest from our female customers to take on home improvement projects.

They became instantly popular and we now runthemeveryWednesdayat7pmso that  it’s convenient for them to attend,” says SheriPapps, public relations specialistwith TheHomeDepot Canada.

Who said it’s a man’s job?

Papps says that the company covers a wide range of topics through out the year, like installing a faucet,

drywall or flooring, learning about power tools, repairs and upgrades for the kitchen or bathroom, and

basic home repairs and safety. “While the topics are geared towards our female customers, our regular DIY workshops also cover these,” Papps points out. Tradeskills4U in West Sussex, UK, too

recently started a two-day intensive Women’s DIY Course.“ Itruns every month andwehave12 seats in each course. We get all kinds of women — single, married, divorced, widowed and, sometimes, even

celebrities,” says Tracey Training, sales director.“ My classes seem to appeal to women over 35 who are single, divorced or widowed and/or empty nesters. I also have a small group of young women who are first

time home owners, both single and married, who have homes that need some work and they want to be able to help. I don’t get  many stay-at-home moms although do get a few and they are often the most dedicated. They tend to take every class they can,” says Browne.

When there are questions about whether women can perform a ‘man’s job’, given that they are proven to be physically weaker, Browne shoots back with an affirmative nod. “I don’t actually believe in the concept of a ‘man’s job’. I believe there are things that need to be taken care of and the person with the best set of skills should be the one responsible. I often say power tools are a great equaliser,” says Browne.

While women take up jobs and volunteer spots in male-dominated industries, Browne’s words ring home, “A creative mind is much more powerful than any physical attribute.”

Women’s Feature Service

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