March 5-11 is the 25th Annual Women in Construction Week which celebrates and promotes the role of women in the construction industry. According to the National Association of Women in Construction website (https://www.nawic.org/), “women numbered 10.9 percent of the entire U.S. construction workforce in 2022” and “the gender pay gap is significantly smaller in construction occupations, with women earning on average 95.5 percent of what men make.” While the MUD tool library and our workshops are not directly involved in the construction industry, we want to acknowledge and celebrate all of the women who have been an incredible part of our organization over the years. From some of the original founders to our current staff and board of directors, women have been blazing the trail at MUD for decades.
At MUD, we strive to offer an inclusive and safe environment for all those who use our services. We understand that the world of home maintenance, construction, and related fields can sometimes feel unwelcoming to underrepresented populations. We want to ensure that all people interested in learning about sustainable living projects and techniques have the ability to do so in a positive environment. To help meet these goals we created a women-led workshop series that focuses on empowering underrepresented groups to learn new skills. Over the last 6 years we’ve held 7 women-led introduction to carpentry workshops, 2 women-led car maintenance workshops, and just this year held our first women-led introduction to plumbing workshop. We’ve reached over 150 people with these classes and continue to be amazed by the participants who join us.
The participants arrive on the first day hesitant and unsure of their ability to wield large power tools. By the end of the second day they are ripping boards, sanding out imperfections, and skillfully assembling projects with their own two hands. We’ve seen long-lasting impacts from the workshops and often the participants become some of our most active tool library users. They go from project to project – building garden beds, snaking a drain, refinishing furniture – all with newfound confidence developed during a MUD workshop. Those projects may be hobbies or they may be fixing crucial household needs that homeowners or renters cannot afford to have done by professionals. The word is also spreading about the power of these experiences, and we’ve had participants travel from as far away as eastern Washington to attend our workshops. All of these outcomes, and much more, are made possible by empowering people to learn new skills in a safe, welcoming environment.
And a big thank you to the foundations and businesses that have supported our women-led workshops over the years including the Llewellyn Foundation, Republic Services, ERA Lambros Community Foundation, High Stakes Foundation, and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.
Happy women in construction week – whether you’ve just picked up a drill for the first time or work as a construction professional – we’re so glad you are a part of MUD!