Author Topic: Women in woodworking  (Read 2026 times)

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Offline HowardH

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Women in woodworking
« on: November 10, 2022, 02:19 PM »
I have been part of this group since 2007.  In those 15 years, I can't recall ever having seen/read any posts from any woman woodworker.  It's still pretty much a boys club for sure but I have seen a few women, not accompanying their significant others, at my local Woodcraft from time to time so things might be changing a bit.  Does anyone recall any ladies being FOGger's? There's a bunch out on Youtube i.e. April Wilkerson et al.
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Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2022, 03:05 PM »
I currently have 2 female employees in the shop.

Ashley has become an excellent finisher in her 9 months of training. Emma is a fabricator in training, she will soon outpace on of the male employees.

My outlook when hiring is I’ll give anyone a chance. I’ll know in a few hours if you have potential, in a few days if that potential will become skills.

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Offline demographic

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2022, 03:40 PM »
I had a female carpentry tutor when I was at college, later I worked with her on sites.
She's one of the best woodworkers I know, hardworking and good at coming up with really leftfield solutions.

Offline Cheese

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2022, 04:09 PM »
Does anyone recall any ladies being FOGger's?

Yes, there have been a couple (as in 2) over the last 3-4 years. Unfortunately I can't remember their names.  [sad]

Online GoingMyWay

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2022, 04:51 PM »
I believe @batmanimal is a woman.  I think I have seen some other female members, but I can't remember their usernames.
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Offline woodbutcherbower

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2022, 06:56 PM »

There have traditionally been nowhere near enough women in all aspects of construction - but in the UK that's changing. We have female bricklayers and scaffolders, female site carpenters and female electricians, following in the footsteps of an increasing band of female truck and bus drivers. Having worked alongside several such motivated women on sites, I have to say that their skills are completely on point with their male counterparts, but their work ethic and attitude is often streets ahead. It's a great little revolution to watch unfolding.

Online Crazyraceguy

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2022, 07:35 PM »
In the last 20 years at the shop where I work, there have only been two. One worked in the laminating area, building countertops. She was around for a couple of years. I don't remember why she left.
The other one was just over a year ago. She came in admittedly knowing nothing, but willing /able to learn. She did fine too, lasted almost to the end of the 90 day probationary period and mysteriously never showed up again after the heads-up that the drug test admin was going to be there the next day.
The bosses are known to give nearly anyone a shot. We have seen a lot come and go. As tjbnwi said, you can tell pretty quickly
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Offline Adamsse

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2022, 07:58 PM »
I have been part of this group since 2007.  In those 15 years, I can't recall ever having seen/read any posts from any woman woodworker.  It's still pretty much a boys club for sure but I have seen a few women, not accompanying their significant others, at my local Woodcraft from time to time so things might be changing a bit.  Does anyone recall any ladies being FOGger's? There's a bunch out on Youtube i.e. April Wilkerson et al.

Woman FOGer here.  Lurker since I got into woodworking after I retired in 2018.  Recently started posting, but have learned a lot here over the years.  There are probably more women on here, but it’s best to be cautious on line usually. 

I’ve seen other women in some of the woodworking classes I’ve gone to before the pandemic.  There may be others going to related city college classes nearby.  There are a lot of men and women coming out of the military in the last 8 or so years, hopefully using their hard earned GI Bills to go to trade classes.  Many of them (e.g. Seabees) come out of the military with fantastic construction skills. 

I like the thread you’ve started.  It makes me wonder what each of us can do to encourage the next generation of woodworkers.  I couldn’t really start until age 62 because i was working too many hours to have a hobby.  So it may not be about reaching just out to young people, but young people at heart like me who want to keep learning and having fun.  Like Leah Bolden says of SeeJaneDrill YouTube fame, you can DO this!

Online ChuckS

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2022, 08:32 PM »
The woman woodworker, a retiree, I know doesn't do any social media stuff. She does cabinets, house improvements (e.g. mud room) and even deck work. Of course, doll houses for her granddaughter.





« Last Edit: November 10, 2022, 08:36 PM by ChuckS »

Offline Muttley000

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2022, 08:35 PM »
At the festool event I attended last weekend a 30ish woman walked in, went strait to the track saw on the table, was obviously knowledgeable about it, confidently (more so than the guys I watched) made a couple cuts, and went out the door with it and a track.  My son that was with me was surprised by this as he “didn’t think girls were into this stuff” I think the hobby would be better off with a better mix for sure.
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Offline luvmytoolz

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2022, 09:25 PM »
My wife used to help me heaps in the early days when we were making bulk wholesale craft supplies, she quite happily got used to using a router, mitre saw, sanders, etc making spoon racks, coasters, door stops, etc. Doesn't really do any woodwork now, but does help massively with the house reno's using nail guns, pulling down walls, etc.

Offline Imemiter

  • Posts: 235
Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2022, 11:24 PM »
The best woodworker I know just made me a cup of tea. Sunday we broke down spruce for bassbars with my saws. Today I used her Tormek. The nicest of my planes and measuring tools were all gifts from her. She surfs the web for news a bit, but avoids shop talk like it was the plaque.
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Offline bobtskutter

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2022, 03:20 AM »
This is a great tread.
I'm an engineer in a traditionally male dominated industry.
We have many female engineers, operators and apprentices in the company.
I'm an active member of the site inclusion and diversity team.  I'm male.
The biggest thing that strikes me about working in a male dominated environment are the stories of "why women can't do that..."  There are others as well, but not for this type of discussion.
They're is no reason why women can not do any job they want to.
If a person of any background is made to feel welcome they'll enjoy what they're doing and stay with it.
Our job as human beings is to be welcoming and supporting of others what ever their gender, race or social background.

Regards
Bob

Offline luvmytoolz

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2022, 04:11 AM »
Yeah, while I'm not too surprised at the lack of women in some trades, it's always struck me as somewhat surprising that fields like engineering can also have a very low female count. The satellite comms division I worked for years ago had probably 70 or so male engineers, and 1 female engineer from memory.

It may have also been partly to do with the Japanese ownership of the parent company, as some of them had very traditional views at the time, although generally my upper management had a fairly free hand in hiring and firing.

Another division onsite doing software development though had a pretty high ratio of females to males at the time, but I'm pretty sure I heard stats some time back that women were generally decreasing in numbers year on year in STEM courses.

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2022, 05:25 AM »
I had a female carpentry tutor when I was at college, later I worked with her on sites.
She's one of the best woodworkers I know, hardworking and good at coming up with really leftfield solutions.

Hi @demographic

I gave a talk to a bunch of woodworking students at Bridgewater College earlier this week. Not only were a third of the students ladies but the instructor was as well. As far as I have seen there is no difference in skill level or capability between the sexes.

Peter

Offline Adamsse

  • Posts: 30
Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2022, 09:26 AM »
This is a great tread.
I'm an engineer in a traditionally male dominated industry.
We have many female engineers, operators and apprentices in the company.
I'm an active member of the site inclusion and diversity team.  I'm male.
The biggest thing that strikes me about working in a male dominated environment are the stories of "why women can't do that..."  There are others as well, but not for this type of discussion.
They're is no reason why women can not do any job they want to.
If a person of any background is made to feel welcome they'll enjoy what they're doing and stay with it.
Our job as human beings is to be welcoming and supporting of others what ever their gender, race or social background.

Regards
Bob

Bob, Men with perspective like you that actively support inclusion made a real difference in my life.  I joined the Navy in 1981 when women were about 6% of the military (today it is triple that at 18%).  I served at sea and while quite a few men made it abundantly clear to me they didn’t approve, others took steps to make sure everyone had equal opportunities to succeed and gave me frank feedback when I was stumbling (the biggest gift).  I retired 34 years later.  When people say “oh, it must have been so hard to be a woman in the military back then”, I tell them about those men who were examples to me as true leaders because they got the work done while fostering individual and team growth no matter who was on those teams. Needless to say, we worked harder for those kinds of leaders.  Sandy

Offline woodbutcherbower

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2022, 10:49 AM »
@Adamsse Great post, Sandy. Great post.

Offline woodbutcherbower

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2022, 10:53 AM »
In fact - I’m now adding this comment because I can’t think of a better topic on which to celebrate my 500th post.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2022, 11:00 AM by woodbutcherbower »

Offline bobtskutter

  • Posts: 80
Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2022, 11:02 AM »
@Adamsse That is a great life story.  I hope the women I've worked with go on to have careers as long as yours doing work they love.
Regards
Bob

Online ChuckS

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2022, 11:13 AM »
When it comes to medical training, the gender gap no longer exists.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/the-big-number-women-now-outnumber-men-in-medical-schools/2019/12/20/8b9eddea-2277-11ea-bed5-880264cc91a9_story.html

In the case of Canadian medical schools, the mean ratio of women to men is about 58% to 42%.

Offline woodferret

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2022, 02:51 PM »
Women who do male-tagged things are invisible when working.  It's only when people want to signal that they become visible - not for the things they do, but because of their gender.  There then becomes a weird expectation that we should enter every room and conversation with pink flair.  It's tiresome.

Online Crazyraceguy

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2022, 06:35 PM »
Getting anyone to work in the cabinet shop is a challenge. For the last 10 years or so there has been a continuous shortage, even worse in the last 2 years.
But, I guess that "woodworker" doesn't have to mean as a profession. There are plenty of hobby woodworkers out there.
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Online ChuckS

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2022, 06:43 PM »
Judging from the woodworking shows I've been to, I'd say there're far more hobby woodworkers than those who do woodworking for a living in North America (not counting the construction or assembly type of workers hired at industrial settings like IKEA or cabinet factories).
« Last Edit: November 11, 2022, 07:05 PM by ChuckS »

Offline batmanimal

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2022, 11:38 AM »
@Adamsse nice to meet you!

I am a female woodworker hobbyist. I generally don’t talk about it because I don’t feel my gender is even close to the most interesting thing about me. I also am wary of inviting unwelcome comments, as I have worked in male dominated industries before and, well, I have learned to be careful. But as I get older, I’ve realized that if someone has a problem with me because I am a woman, that’s their problem, not mine!

I hope I am setting a strong example for my son and daughter who see mom building the bookshelves and cabinets, and doing the framing and deck and treehouse. With lots of tools of course (largely of the green and blue variety).

I have my hands full these days with a new German Shepherd puppy. She is my new shop helper. So I haven’t had time to be as active on here.

One thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I tend to set a higher standard for women in the building industry who have a public social presence, and I’m realizing now that it’s not fair. I will just watch a woman’s YT channel with a more critical eye because I protectively don’t want her to be dismissed as a novice and therefore women in general categorized as such (perhaps some self defensiveness kicking in here). And whenever I see prominent women woodworkers deliberately catering to novices (ie using pocket screws everywhere, settling for butt joints when a miter would be better, etc) I am almost personally offended by it! Whereas there are plenty of male woodworkers out on YT and Instagram doing the same things and it doesn’t bother me. That’s something I need to work on.

I do love See Jane Drill! I have learned a lot of “why didn’t I think of that?!” tips from her.

Offline Sparktrician

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2022, 01:34 PM »
When I attended Shelter Institute in '84 and Solar Energy International in '06, roughly 1/3 of the instructors were women, and according to Blueberry Beeton of Shelter, roughly 25% of the students are women.  I'm delighted to have had the experience of their perspective and to have worked with them.   [smile]
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Offline Adamsse

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2022, 01:48 PM »
@Adamsse nice to meet you!


@batmanimal The feeling is mutual.  I’m also a hobbyist woodworker, now for about 4 years.  I’ve been lurking for quite a while and just started posting recently.  I love the FOG community, and it’s great to know there are other women woodworkers out there too.  So much to learn!  Sandy

Offline Mini Me

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2022, 07:56 PM »
Every WW course I have done has had women though far outnumbered by men but that is the way of the world. You could reverse the question and ask why more men don't sew, knit, crochet etc, some do but not many and that too is the way of the world. I look at my wife and I am absolutely gobsmacked by how clever she is at everything she does but she did a dressmaking and design 5 year indentured apprenticeship. I had a automotive workshop and one of the technicians was a young lady who was very good at her job and again there are not many female technicians in the industry.   

Online ChuckS

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Re: Women in woodworking
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2022, 08:10 PM »
My first manager (in my real career) was a woman. If she were a lousy manager, I myself would've become a lousy one, too, later in my life, because fresh from college, we tended to copy how our first immediate boss acted. Interestingly in my case, the two most indecisive bosses I had worked for were both men.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2022, 08:16 PM by ChuckS »