Hi All ,
My name is Hanna Benihoud and I am a maker. As the community manager at MakerLabs I noticed a lack of women within our maker space and set on a mission to do something about it. First we hosted a women’s maker meet up 31st January 2018. 65 women turned up to the first event and it was amazing to feel the energy in the room! There was a lot of passion for making and we began to get a little more understanding of what was holding us women back.
Three things seemed to stand out.
Number 1: You can’t be what can’t see.
Walking into shops and not seeing women around make these spaces feel more intimidating. There is a feeling of all eye’s being on you and that is a lot of pressure if you just want to get on with your work. 2 things on this point. 1, the only way to change that is by just continuing to enter these spaces until women become the norm. 2nd point is that men want women in these spaces too! Every male member within MakerLabs has been supportive and encouraging in our mission. There is far too much testosterone in a woodshop for everyone!
Number 2: The fear of getting it wrong.
Women seem less confident in just having a go. This is something I can really sympathise with. We already have to be better to get the same respect as men so the idea of walking into a male space and doing something badly is not an easy task. I get it. But I’ll let you into a secret…. SO MANY MEN HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING! They just look like they do because it’s a man, holding a saw, he must know what he's doing… right?...wrong! Go into workshops, make mistakes, produce rubbish work, cut stuff up for no reason it’s all part of the learning and you will get better. Everyone is figuring it out.
Number 3: So many ideas you don’t know where to start.
In a place like MakerLabs the possibilities are endless which can be overwhelming. My advice would be to pick one gateway project and make yourself accountable. Pick something that is achievable & give yourself a timeline so you actually do it. Perhaps you could make someone a birthday present or tell the internet your making plans. I want to learn how to use the CNC router and I have aprox 1652 ideas of how to use it. So I have decided to make the residency a sign for the studio. (Achievable) I will have it made by the next meet up April 4th (Timeline) I have told you what I’m doing so now I have to do it (Accountable)
To help with the issues above we have started a residency specifically for women and also this blog which is dedicated to women who make. Every month our residents from the 'Tools For Women' residency will contribute to the blog and we hope it will inspire women to make more.
Please let me introduce our first 4 fantastic women. Tierney, Niki, Josephine & Roxanne.