top of page

Breaking the Mould: How Women are Transforming the World of Woodworking.

The majority of woodworkers have historically been men. For a long time, women were not encouraged to engage in woodworking as a profession or hobby. Yet, women are increasingly breaking the mould and entering the woodworking industry in recent years. In addition to defying conventional gender norms and assumptions, these women are advancing the profession by introducing fresh concepts, viewpoints, and methods.



Women are a significant contribution to the world of woodworking. I've seen it, and I know I will see it more and more in the following years. They bring a fresh new vision to how things are made and prove how essential they are to the art of crafting, which will see a return to the appreciation of handmade products.


In this blog post, we'll explore how women are transforming the world of woodworking.


We'll highlight some women woodworkers breaking the mould and challenging traditional gender roles and stereotypes. We'll discuss some of the strategies and initiatives that are helping to promote greater gender diversity and inclusion in the industry.


I hope this blog post will inspire more women to pursue careers in woodworking or take up the craft as a hobby. Woodworking is an art anyone can enjoy, regardless of gender, and the hope is to see more women making their mark on this exciting and fulfilling craft.


Here are the points we will discuss:


Woodworking has been around since humankind has memory, and women have been involved in it in various ways throughout history. Although women have often been excluded from the profession due to gender bias, there have been many notable cases of women who have made their mark on the world of woodworking.


One such woman is the American woodcarver Hannah Cohoon. Cohoon was active in the 19th century and is best known for her intricate and detailed wood carvings, often featuring religious themes. She was a member of the Shakers, a religious community strongly emphasising craftsmanship, and her work is still highly valued by collectors today.


Another famous female woodworker is Louise Brigham, active in the early 20th century. Brigham was a skilled woodcarver and furniture maker specialising in the Arts and Crafts style. She was also an advocate for women in the woodworking industry and was one of the founding members of the Women's Woodworking Guild of America.


While these women faced many challenges in the male-dominated world of woodworking, they were able to break through gender barriers and leave their mark on the craft. Their contributions helped pave the way for future generations of women in woodworking, and they continue to inspire and influence woodworkers today.



In the evolving field of woodworking, women are becoming more influential. Woodworking is becoming increasingly popular among women as a hobby and as a job. This trend is reflected in the rise of female entrepreneurs starting their woodworking businesses and winning awards for their contributions to the industry.


The ease with which women interested in woodworking can access tools and knowledge is one of the causes of this development. Modern publications, seminars, and online learning environments cater to women's demands and interests. Now more than ever, women can begin working with wood and obtain the skills and knowledge necessary for success.

In 2020, women made up 10.1% of the carpentry profession

The increased appreciation of the significance of diversity in the industry is another factor influencing the rise of women in the woodworking sector. When more women work in the industry, they bring fresh viewpoints, methods, and concepts that stimulate creativity and innovation. This diversity is boosting the woodworking community and creating more options for women to excel in the sector.


The fact that women made up 10.1% of the carpentry workforce in 2020's labour statistics brought attention to the gender gap in the industry. It's crucial to remember that this number is rising each year and that more and more women are contributing to the industry. This encouraging pattern shows that women are breaking stereotypes and questioning old gender norms and that the sector is becoming more diverse and inclusive. We can anticipate many fresh ideas and viewpoints that will improve the craft and motivate the upcoming generation of woodworkers as more women enter the field.



In recent years, a growing number of women have been making significant contributions to the world of woodworking. These women are talented and skilled woodworkers and help create a more diverse and inclusive industry.


One of these women is Laura Zahn, a professional woodworker headquartered in Los Angeles and founder of Allied Workshop. A graduate of The Krenov School in Northern California, Laura strives to fine craftsmanship, combining sensitivity toward her material with personal expression in her work.

She teaches at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, and Cal State Long Beach to share her love of the trade.


Another pioneering woman in woodworking is Wendy Maruyama, a professor of woodworking and furniture design for over 30 years. Maruyama's work is known for its intricate and detailed designs, and she has gained recognition for her innovative use of materials and techniques.


Many women are recently getting attention through social channels and are an excellent example of how it is possible to transform a passion into a full-time profession.


Looking at a social platform like YouTube, names like Tamar of 3X3 Custom and Ashley Harwood are becoming very popular and show how accessible woodworking is, with tools that most can afford.


Tamar Hannah is a talented self-taught woodworker known for her YouTube channel called 3x3 Custom. She started woodworking as a hobby because she couldn't find an outdoor storage bench she liked, but it quickly grew into a passion that led her to start her own woodworking business.


Tamar creates various woodworking projects, from furniture to home decor items. She is skilled in both traditional woodworking techniques and modern power tool usage.


Ashley Harwood is a renowned woodturner and a leading figure in the world of woodworking. She is known for her intricate and beautiful wood-turned bowls, which feature elegant shapes, delicate details, and stunning finishes.


Over the years, Ashley has honed her skills as a woodturner and has become a respected teacher and mentor to aspiring woodworkers. She offers classes and workshops at her studio in Charleston, South Carolina, where she shares her techniques and expertise with students worldwide.



While the number of women in woodworking is growing, much work must be done to promote greater gender diversity and inclusion in the industry. If we want to make woodworking more accessible, welcoming and diverse, we must take action. Here are some strategies that can help.


One way to encourage greater gender diversity in woodworking is to create more education and training programs tailored to women's needs and interests. These programs should be designed to be inclusive, supportive, and welcoming to women and provide the resources and support needed to succeed in the industry. This could include scholarships or grants for women and mentorship programs or apprenticeships that help women gain the skills and experience necessary to succeed.


Another critical step towards greater gender diversity in woodworking is increasing women's visibility and representation in the industry. This could include highlighting the work of women woodworkers in magazines, blogs, and other media outlets and featuring them in exhibitions and trade shows. It's also essential to promote the stories of women who have made significant contributions to woodworking in the past, to help inspire and encourage women to pursue careers in the field.


Unfortunately, like many others, the woodworking industry can be prone to biases and stereotypes discouraging women. We must actively address these biases and stereotypes to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment. This could involve education and training programs for both men and women in the industry to promote awareness and understanding of gender issues and encourage leaders to promote gender equality and address discriminatory practices.


Finally, creating supportive networks for women in woodworking can help to build a sense of community and encourage more women to pursue careers in the industry. This could include networking events, online forums, or local woodworking groups tailored to women's needs and interests. Creating a supportive and inclusive environment can help more women feel welcome and encouraged to join the field.


CONCLUSION


Woodworking is no longer just a male-dominated industry. Women have been breaking the mould and emerging as prominent woodworkers, bringing their unique perspectives and talents to the craft. From the past to the present, we have seen women woodworkers who have defied the odds and made their mark in the industry.


However, despite the progress that has been made, much work is still to be done in promoting greater gender diversity and inclusion in woodworking. By implementing strategies like mentorship programs, education and training, and increasing visibility and representation, we can continue to support and promote the participation of women in woodworking.


The transformation of the world of woodworking is ongoing, and women are playing a vital role in shaping the future of the craft. The barriers that have existed for women in the past are slowly being broken down, and the contributions of women are being recognised and celebrated. We can only look forward to what the future holds for women in woodworking and the exciting possibilities.


 

If you love woodworking as we do, join our community by subscribing to our mailing list. All our latest news and fresh new blog post are in your mailbox weekly.


Dubai Makers Society offers a woodworking space to rent using power tools and heavy machines.


We also run regular classes for those who want to learn woodworking.



Comments


bottom of page