Handywoman Toronto – A phrase to normalize

From the start of writing this post, I was already hit with a telling reason for creating this business…

Just in simply typing the word “handyman” on the screen to write this, I was swiftly auto-corrected back to “handyman” several frustrating times, as if even the computer was trying to tell me that only a man can be handy. It seems as though the feminist revolution still hadn’t hit on the handy aspects of life yet.

I grew up in a household where my mom would do the cleaning and make some of the interior design and decorating decisions, but it was definitely my dad who did all of the repairs. If anything,  my sister, my mom, or I would become partial assistants in his work, helping to hold something up, or grab something for him while his hands were tied, which did fortunately open my eyes to observe how things work. He was the truest form of handyman – self taught from the beginning, having learned some tricks of the trade from his father, and from decades of handling home repairs on his own. It was extraordinarily rare for any sort of trades person to come into our family home growing up, since my dad really would do it all. And imagine that back in those days there wasn’t the internet or YouTube videos for consult – you really did have to problem solve or search the library for books to read on your own!

Being somewhat of a traditionalist in terms of family roles, I always seemed to be around to watch how things come together, and occasionally I would be invited in to help, but he was definitely the one always taking the lead. Later, when I got married, my husband became the default go-to person for my dad to ask for help with handy-work projects, having him become the “son he never had”. I wasn’t even asked to the table to help, even though I was eager to learn, smart and capable, and I think it was partly because I was a girl. What an unjust situation to be locked into.

So why not enter the around-the-home handy work arena as a woman?

In my opinion, it’s the quality of the work that’s important, and that comes through from character traits – not gender. I’m very detailed, careful, thoughtful, articulate and good with solving problems. I love working with my hands and seeing the visible positive results of my efforts. It matters to me that I am able to start and complete a project, and have the work space tidy during my work and after I’m done too. It’s these kinds of things that matter, and unless you’re unfairly resting on stereotypes, these traits are not restricted to one gender or another. Anyone can be handy with the right experience, patience and level of care.

I’m proud to call myself handy, and recognize myself as a woman, so why not a handywoman. I’m here to help, and I know what I’m doing 🙂

Anne Doherty

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