In Search of Women and Woodwork

by Michelle Wijaya November 18, 2015

In Search of Women and Woodwork

Reflections by Tamar Alexian, Thistle Farm blogger

In the garage at my parents’ house, my dad has a  woodworking bench filled with so many tools that I can’t recall what the top of the bench looks like. My father’s father has a similar bench in his garage. So do my Uncle Shahan, my Uncle Raffi, and my Uncle Joe. 

Woodworking and carpentry have, historically, been male occupations.  I can still see the after-effects of this traditional gender split in my own family, in my father’s, grandfather’s, and uncles’ work benches. 

At Shared Trade, I have found that this phenomenon reaches farther than my own experience. As we continue to grow Shared Trade’s global dining collection, we struggle to find handmade wooden dining items made by women to fill this gap in our social enterprises.  

In our quest to find woodwork for our global dining collection, we have found a number of talented male  woodworkers; however, Shared Trade’s mission is to increase economic opportunities for women by supporting and growing women's social enterprises. Thus, we continue our search to find female  woodworkers, while working with a couple of partners on woodworking training schemes for the future. 

Our hope is to see shared woodworking benches--where men and women can craft high quality handmade wood products. We look forward to the day we can sit down to dinner and proudly use wooden cutting boards that support the global movement for women’s economic freedom.

Are you connected with a group of women  woodworkers aligning with Shared Trade's mission? Please contact us!

Michelle Wijaya
Michelle Wijaya



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