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< prev - next > Social and economic development discovering technologists (Printable PDF)
Gender and Technology Training Guidelines
others completed the house with their share of the money, money raised through
other activities, and other additional funds from the College of Architects.
Teams of 10 women each were formed with a mason for every 20 families. The
College of Architects paid for the mason and the material. The women built the
houses in stages. The first stage was building 9 lineal meters of wall. The second
stage consisted of closing the box.
To get the rotating fund together the women organised fares on Fridays, Saturdays
and Sundays. These fares were carried out while the construction was going on. The
women organised a market where they sold used clothes and food, organised fares,
balls and lotteries where the whole community could meet socialise and unite.
Some families who didn't take part in the building activities left the area. The
building work itself was hard for the women. Some fell ill, got tired, faced accidents,
but some women did it, accepting the fact that they had to do it. If they couldn't
actively take part in the building because of illness or other jobs, someone from the
family always took their place, while those who stayed at home helped in other ways
like kneading and backing. Women who didn't pay or didn't want to pay contributed
by helping in the construction itself. The group was not strict about the payment,
whenever the women had money they contributed. If they didn't they helped in other
The first 2 stages took 8 months. To build the roofs the women managed to find
funding and technical assistance and put up the roofs themselves. The final
construction was done by a construction company that the municipality organised
after the mayor a woman who was visiting, saw the work done by these women. She
was impressed and requested them to apply for an existing subsidy for aide with
second stage progressive building at the department of housing and helped the
women to finish their construction. They also got the municipality's approval at the
end of the construction that the houses complied with all the by laws. The
municipality paid a mason to help the women at the final stages of building.
In the public sphere being women, it was naturally difficult to operate on the same
level as men (harsh deals, coldness, and manipulation); on the other hand, being a
woman brought with it a special sensitivity for grasping situations. In the sphere of
work itself the job was physically difficult to accomplish, because the tools and
equipment were made with men in mind. But the women had a keen interest to learn
and some women even wanted to be trained in some specific aspects of building.
They also discovered that they already had some useful skills for example they were
able to transfer the concepts of measurement, which they used in making pastry,
across to making cement.
For the women the most important aspect of the project was re valuing themselves;
the realisation that they were capable of doing what they intended, knowing that they
were not restricted only to the home, but that there are other alternatives which allow
them to share, to develop and to participate. They could leave the home, enjoying a
newly earned freedom.