Straw Bale Construction and Women

Woman in white dress working on straw bale houseIt’s no secret that the construction industry is not exactly woman friendly. How many times have you heard the phrase “now listen little lady…” when talking about contractors or supply yard employees?  That may be a bit rich for reality, but my point is that it isn’t uncommon for women to be told, or simply be given a subconscious message that they aren’t welcome in the construction world. I think that’s a huge loss and something that needs to change.

I believe that women hold such a unique perspective on life and on construction in general that to lose their input is a loss well beyond the moment, but for the greater success of the structure. I’m a believer in energies: masculine and feminine, and how they play out in the world as a balance. If that balance is lost, things don’t work as well, period. Why would it be any different in construction?

Woman on ladder working on straw bale house If the balance of feminine to masculine is too heavily leaning towards masculine, then the input and touch of the feminine will be lost on the structure. Let’s be clear here, our homes are very often a manifestation of the feminine. Okay, the “man-cave” may not be, but the rest of the home is, energetically speaking. I don’t mean that the walls are painted pink and that flowing curtains drape across every window. That’s too simplistic. I mean that the energy of the feminine is abundant in a home. The sense of home: comfort, safety, warmth, love, these are all aspects of the feminine incarnate in the home.

I teach straw bale construction workshops all over the world and am always impressed with the number of women who attend my classes. Some of them have construction experience while many more do not. In fact, many of them have never held a nail gun before and are often intimidated by the more “heavy duty” tools. By the end of the week, almost without exception, the women are all using the chainsaws, nail guns, and other tools with confidence. I love that!

I hope that more women continue to sign up for my workshops and continue to thrive in the field of construction. Women working on straw bale housePerhaps it’s the natural, organic nature of straw bale construction that draws so many women in. I don’t know. What I do know is that a large percentage of my readers, that’s you, are women and that many of you have taken workshops with me. I assume that there are those of you out there wondering if you can do it. Wondering if you have what it takes to build your own home. Many of you may have been told by other construction industry members to get out of the way. Well, I say to you: jump in, get your hands dirty, share with the rest of us your gifts, and build your dream!

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7 Responses to Straw Bale Construction and Women

  1. Avatar
    Bob Seyfried Sat, July 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    Andrew,
    Being a Male, I’m right there with you, that woman should be there building, learning, and giving their input, when my wife and I start our build, she wants to be there from start to finish, and both of us will be part of that house.

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    Sherrie Molera Sat, July 17, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    I was sold on straw bale the first time I entered one or even before. The softness of the lines and the fact that they are healthy homes was what caught my attention. I have worked in the field and agree with you that the woman’s imput is essential. While it is not always the woman who tends the house, it is more likely to be her or at least shared with the spouse. They know how a home does or does not fuction in its purpose to provide a comfortable place to be. Also the ease of care is something she would know about. Yes certain looks are in true beautiful, but require a great deal more care, thu thus expense, in the form of her time and trouble is greater. Believe me, women are talking up when it comes to this issue as it is her time and energy and women in general do not care to spend it with long hours of cleaning. Women know the true costs involved in the home and if it functions well. You are right that this is a needed element in homes, not just houses. That is what makes these structures important. Home is our refuge from the rest of the world.

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    Helen Ettlin Sat, July 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    I know what you mean. I have spent the last year rebuilding a home that was nearly destroyed by bad tenants. I have dealt with contractors trying to rip me off, builders trying to get by not following code, and people telling me that I need things I know I don’t need. I have had three things on my side: a great general contractor that I would trust with my life, a daughter who knows the law inside and out, and I am earning a degree in Civil Engineering. Without these things, I would likely be bankrupt and insane by now. Knowledge is power.

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    Andrew Sun, August 1, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    I am 100% in agreeance with the comments regarding women and construction. I personally have had many experiences in the recent past on job-sites that were oppressive, aggressive, and in many ways just a drag to be on due to the outlook and insecurities of some of the men. Being a male, a white male, I am just so turned off by the masculine attitudes and machismo and oppressive attitudes. The whole reason why I am where I am today in life is practically all due to the balance that my partner, a female, brings to my life. Her opinions and decision making skills and rational and nurturing spirit fuel my creativity and confidence. I love the feminine energy and welcome it in all areas of my life. It amazes me the insecurities of many men.

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    Estee Mon, September 6, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    I live in Southern California, and I started my strawbale addition last year in Sept, first addition in southern Cal. i just finished the interior and exterior plastering. I had a contrator but left because of insuffient funds. I’m on my own now, I’m determined to finish this strawbale addtion.

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    Andrew Morrison Tue, September 7, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    Best of luck to you. I would love to see pictures of your project. You can send them to strawbalephotos@gmail.com! Again…Best of Success to you!

  7. Avatar
    Kandi Wood Tue, January 4, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    I built my straw bale house in 06/07. I had 5 people on the main crew: 3 men and 2 women. My rule to my builder was that I didn’t want anyone on the site who was not totally in tune with straw bale building and believed in it 100%. My crew ROCKED! The wonderful mix of masculine/feminine was awesome. The days I was here it made it 50/50 men to women. Check out my site for pics and stand by for an ebook in the making! Looking forward to selling your DVD’s on my site Andrew!!

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