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Women Empowered by Habitat for Humanity

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Women Empowered by Habitat for Humanity

Having an all-female work crew allows women to ask questions they may have been ashamed to and try things that they thought they couldn't do.


October 8, 2021
Women with hard hat and carpeter's level
Photo: stock.Adobe.com

The Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity in North Carolina has been building a house per year since 2003 with an all-female crew. The campaign has attracted hundreds of Women Build volunteers, some who come for day and some who return to a job site year after year in addition to fundraising and recruiting other women volunteers.

Robin Clark, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity’s construction manager, said having an all-female work crew allows women to ask questions they may have been ashamed to and try things that they thought they couldn't do.

“Women particularly think ‘I don't know what I'm doing here,’” Clark said. “Having a Women Build (project) where you are there and you’re doing it and no guy’s going to push you out of the way, you’ve got to do it. (The women) get a feel for it, and then they start coming all the time.”

“Women work together well, and they look out for each other. Our mutual respect is not as much of an ego thing,” said Julie White, a volunteer. “On the other hand, we're the first to say that we don't know something.”
Learning from other women who also have likely never used a miter saw makes it easier to make mistakes and learn from them, say Jan Cosman, another volunteer. 

“By the end of the day, they're like, ‘wow, I built a wall. I raised the wall. I just did things that I would never have,” she said. “It's a good confidence builder.”

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