Why Women Play Such an Important Role in Home Improvement Trades
By Katherine Oakes
When you think of women’s roles in home improvement throughout history, it has been mostly associated only with the more superficial—yet just as important—aspect of interior design, style, and aesthetics. This sort of labeling and compartmentalizing has created a bottleneck in the industry of home improvement for the different jobs available to women and has left a large gap in between both genders and their respective roles. At Modernize, we know that a love for home improvement, no matter what kind, is something that can be appreciated by everyone.
Over the years, as the career landscape began to shift, women sought out opportunities for more physical and laborious jobs, and groups like Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. worked hard to pave the way and create equal opportunities. Now, more than ever, there are more women working in the home improvement industry, but in the physically-demanding sectors that would have otherwise been designated for men. This trend has been rising incrementally over time and for many interesting reasons, and much of it is happening because of the women in the workforce who want to make it that way.
In a Take Part article about why more employers are beginning to see things in a different light, Jesse Duran, a former military recruiter, says he “actively seeks out potential students, starting with the YouthBuild programs to get them young, because a girl who is told to put down that hammer or stop playing so rough may be getting cut off from the opportunity to gain experience before she even knows it exists.” The idea here is that, for some women, choosing a job that fits within a more traditional career path could potentially be avoided from a young age if those women’s strengths are outside of the boardroom.
Interestingly enough, there has even been more of a demand for women in this workforce as Take Part notes, “Duran said his job placing women is getting easier. He asked the unions what they were looking for, and all said they want someone who can do the work, no matter what gender, and they meant it. Many bosses are clamoring to hire women in the trades, because companies like Avon have stipulated they need at least 15 percent of workers on building projects in New York City to be women”. So with all of this new information at their fingertips, women who would rather see more opportunities available to them and others in the home improvement trade have the right to feel invigorated and inspired to keep going. So long as there is a demand for gender equality and diversity then, it seems, that more even doors will continue to be opened for them.