Title

Exploring women's ways of doing through the occupation of construction

Start Time

27-10-2007 9:30 AM

End Time

27-10-2007 11:00 AM

Abstract

The involvement of women in non-traditional occupations such as construction is not well understood. However, more women than ever before are engaging in home renovations and entering skilled trades. To date research efforts have centered on gender issues from an ergonomic and health and safety perspective. This information has in turn lead to the design of construction products for use by women that take into consideration the anthropometric measures of females. As a result tools and equipment with small grips and that are lighter in weight are becoming more accessible. Beyond the traditional tools, little information exists on how women experience construction as a paid or voluntary occupation. Thalia is a place built by women for women. Thalia provided an opportunity to explore the occupational participation experiences of women as a group and how they approached a construction project. Six narrative and photo accounts of women who were engaged in this project over several years were used to gather data and gain a detailed understanding of their personal stories. Insights into the experiences of women were gleaned through an occupational and feminist perspective. Findings suggest that there is an ebb and flow to women’s ways of doing‚ that unfold through using women’s tools of the trade‚ and a leadership style of shedding light on possibilities‚ Further to this the ways these women approached a seemingly daunting task of building a cabin by the sea with no direct road access, running water or electricity impacted their participation and beliefs about their occupational potential in occupations beyond Thalia. Ultimately place and opportunity for growth underscored the meaning of Thalia experience. This paper will present the Thalia study findings through an orated and illustrated story and lead into a open dialogue on the implications for understanding how women collectively approach construction projects and how these insights may impact upon the occupational choices and transitions of women as they age, retire and embrace new occupations.

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Oct 27th, 9:30 AM Oct 27th, 11:00 AM

Exploring women's ways of doing through the occupation of construction

The involvement of women in non-traditional occupations such as construction is not well understood. However, more women than ever before are engaging in home renovations and entering skilled trades. To date research efforts have centered on gender issues from an ergonomic and health and safety perspective. This information has in turn lead to the design of construction products for use by women that take into consideration the anthropometric measures of females. As a result tools and equipment with small grips and that are lighter in weight are becoming more accessible. Beyond the traditional tools, little information exists on how women experience construction as a paid or voluntary occupation. Thalia is a place built by women for women. Thalia provided an opportunity to explore the occupational participation experiences of women as a group and how they approached a construction project. Six narrative and photo accounts of women who were engaged in this project over several years were used to gather data and gain a detailed understanding of their personal stories. Insights into the experiences of women were gleaned through an occupational and feminist perspective. Findings suggest that there is an ebb and flow to women’s ways of doing‚ that unfold through using women’s tools of the trade‚ and a leadership style of shedding light on possibilities‚ Further to this the ways these women approached a seemingly daunting task of building a cabin by the sea with no direct road access, running water or electricity impacted their participation and beliefs about their occupational potential in occupations beyond Thalia. Ultimately place and opportunity for growth underscored the meaning of Thalia experience. This paper will present the Thalia study findings through an orated and illustrated story and lead into a open dialogue on the implications for understanding how women collectively approach construction projects and how these insights may impact upon the occupational choices and transitions of women as they age, retire and embrace new occupations.