Since February 2020, the Women’s Shed Movement WA has been searching Fremantle to find a site for women to develop their skills in mechanics and construction.
Fremantle councillor Su Groome hopes the shed would be a safe space for women to come together as a community while empowering one another.
“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.
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.
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.”