He shed she shed

Since February 2020, the Women’s Shed Movement WA has been searching Fremantle to find a site for women to develop skills in mechanics and construction. 

Fremantle councillor Su Groome hopes the shed will be a safe space for women to come together as a community while empowering one another.  

WSMWA empowering women. Image: Women’s Shed Movement WA.

“They [women] are now recognising they would also like to further their physical abilities whether it be in construction or learning how to use basic tools, like a hammer and nails,” she says.

Although she is thrilled the movement is gaining momentum, she says the issue at hand is not necessarily a gender related one. 

Su Groome discusses the shed delay. Picture: Supplied.

Professor of sustainable engineering at Curtin University Michele John says gender disparity within the construction industry can be attributed to a lack of opportunity for experience.

“I think having a broader, trade-based education for women would be very beneficial and even allow for us to depend less on men for household maintenance,” Professor John says.

She says a shed could provide women with more confidence to get involved in tasks that have traditionally been associated with a man’s role. 

“This is the kind of world we hope to move towards. It doesn’t matter what gender you are, if you have an interest towards a profession you should be able to explore it,” Professor John says.

Infographic: Tilli Andrew


Curtin students discuss the importance of men and women having an equal opportunity to advance their skills. Video: Tilli Andrew.

Founding member of the Mosman Park Men’s Shed Ian Davidson-Deany says the mental benefits of a shed are crucial, especially during the retirement stage.

“Plenty of men don’t have any idea what they would like to do once they retire and sometimes just fall into a big hole,” he says.

Mr Davidson-Deany agrees it’s just as important for women to learn how to operate machinery and tools in a social setting.  

“I think it would be super for women to finally have some sort of recreational shed, but it’s also very important that blokes just talk to blokes.”