In 1977, Kate Braid began work as one of the first women to stumble (literally) into construction. Since then, feminism, the #MeToo movement, pay equity legislation and other efforts have led to more women in a wider variety of careers. Yet, the number of women in blue-collar trades has barely shifted--from three percent to a mere four.
In Journeywoman, Braid told a personal story of working almost exclusively with all-male construction crews. In Hammer & Nail: Notes of a Journeywoman, Braid returns to the trades with courage, compassion, and humour. Connecting her lifetime of experiences as a construction worker, as well as an educator and writer, Braid reflects on the culture of labour and recalls the thrill of realizing her own skill and capabilities.
Through stories, articles and speeches, Hammer & Nail sheds new light on our ideas of traditional gender roles--and how those ideas change in small but profound moments of gentleness, strength, humility and clarity on the job. Hammer & Nail is a thought-provoking collection of the highs and lows, the laughs, the heartaches and some of the lessons of Braid's journey.
About the author
Kate Braid worked as a receptionist, secretary, teacher’s aide, lumber piler, construction labourer, apprentice and journey-carpenter before finally “settling down”? as a teacher. She has taught construction and creative writing, the latter in workshops and also at SFU, UBC and for ten years at Vancouver Island University (previously Malaspina University-College). She is the author of A Well-Mannered Storm: The Glenn Gould Poems, Covering Rough Ground, To This Cedar Fountain and Inward to the Bones: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Journey with Emily Carr. In 2005 she co-edited, with Sandy Shreve, In Fine Form: The Canadian Book of Form Poetry. Braid’s second book of poems about her carpentry experiences, Turning Left to the Ladies, was published by Palimpsest Press. She lives in Burnaby, BC, with her partner.