Men Build, Women Bake?

Men Build, Women Bake?


Two pair of socks, two pants, four shirts, vest, gloves and hat…..yup just another day at the office.  With cement floors, stone walls and ten foot ceilings a good friend put it perfectly “yeah you’re pretty much screwed.” Winter is Wisconsin and an old building, hey at least our ceiling doesn’t have holes anymore. 


As a result of this wonderful Wisconsin weather, I am curious why there aren’t any clothing options out there for women in construction.  I have searched high and low online and cannot find anyone who makes custom clothes.  Maybe out of flannel, I’ll take any material at this point.  Why is my only option to buy men’s clothes and then have it altered to fit me?  I cannot possibly be the only woman out there with this problem.  That might lead us to our next endeavor: Frontier Clothing.  No Joke.


Well some statistics I found might explain why a clothing line may not be the best answer.  Only 11% of the construction population are women.  A majority of those women are in the managerial, sales or design positions.  From a 2013 study, I make up only 1.2% of the construction population and women only earn 82.1% of what men make! (


Are there certain jobs only men can do, of course!  For example, besides the fact that I am not royalty, I can never be a King.  Supposedly there are also areas within the construction world that are unsafe and pose health problems specific to women (  I can see how sexual harassment could become a problem as well, but have you been watching the news lately?  Sadly, that’s happening anywhere men and women are working side by side.  You want to challenge my muscle mass compared to a male construction worker, go right ahead, he would win.  I’ll use my brain or even just my common sense to win over that argument.  However, there are some scary buff ladies out there that could probably kick their butts.


I’ll admit like any new adventure (that you jump into head first without a clue how to swim) one day at a time.  Baby steps, sometimes even a crawl depending on the day.  I now know how to frame out a house……a play house, but…you know…details.  Also, I never thought the day would come that I would get excited about Dremel attachments.  I have already been told by my husband to back away from the Dremel section and keep walking.  I feel like a kid in a candy store (or in our boys’ world - a kid in a doughnut shop) ready to bounce off the walls with my new shiny treats!


My husband claimed the other day that I was still using my education…’s a good competition construction guys out there.  Get in the kitchen and bake a cake, put those skills to the test! I find myself making odd comparisons between wood and food.  Such as fresh baked bread coming out of the oven and wood coming out of a planer has the same effect on me, I smell it and say “ah beautiful”.  Rich dark chocolate comes to mind whenever I work with walnut and cherry wood smells exactly like cherry pie. I do wish sometimes I could text smells, but I think some people out there would abuse that feature…we don’t need to get into the detail on that idea.

So my husband and I may not be thinking the exact same thing while at work, that doesn’t mean we aren’t equally capable within the shop.  At one point in our lives I was the boss in the kitchen, now it’s his turn and I am ok with that.  We catch each other’s mistakes and work as a team in every situation.  So I say, get out there ladies!  Take a chance, you may have a hidden talent just waiting for the right opportunity to come out.

Natalie Kohlhagen