Five Reasons Why Girls Need Tools

When I was a teenager, my mom bought me a screwdriver set to put a computer desk together. I asked her why I couldn’t just use her screwdrivers, and she said, “Trust me, you’ll need these.” Truer words have never been spoken. Over the years, I’ve collected a whole toolbox worth of tools. And I use them all.

Here are five reasons why girls and young women need tools.

1. Life is easier when you can do things for yourself.

Having tools means that I don’t have to wait for a man to show up with hedge clippers to trim my bushes or a screwdriver to put together a bookshelf. If I need to hang a picture, I have a trusty hammer to pound the nail into the wall, and a level to make sure it’s straight. I’m not particularly handy, but I know my life is easier because having tools makes me more self-sufficient. I don’t have to rely on anyone to accomplish relatively simple household tasks.

Giving girls tools at an early age (and showing them how to use them) means that they won’t have to call home to put up a shelf or repair a hole in the wall. Think about all the routine household things you do with tools. Then try to argue that a single woman doesn’t need to be able to do all those things for herself.

2. Mechanics and maintenance people will respect you more.

It’s a sad fact of life that sometimes car mechanics and repair people don’t always take a woman’s complaint as seriously as a man’s. If I call my landlord, for example, and tell him I’ve having trouble with the toilet, he might wonder if I’m an idiot and didn’t look to see if I could figure out what the problem is. If I call my landlord and tell him my toilet needs a new flapper because the seal is broken, he’ll know I’m making a serious request for repair.

To be fair, having tools isn’t the same as knowing how to fix your car or your plumbing. But as you use your tools, you’ll develop a better sense of how things work, and you’ll be better equipped to diagnose problems even if you can’t fix them yourself.

3. Women who can use tools save money.

Sometimes the easiest things cost a ton of money if you have other people do them for you. Furniture is an excellent example. You can buy a put-it-together-yourself bookshelf, or you can go to a furniture store to buy one already assembled, and get stuck paying for delivery. Knowing how to use a power drill and a screwdriver means I can install my own pre-cut blinds instead of paying someone else hundreds of dollars to do it for me. Young women need tools to get them through those college years when life is expensive enough already.

4. Women who grow up using tools won’t be afraid to work with their hands in other capacities.

During my last semester of graduate school, I took a bookmaking class on a lark. I wanted something different and something easy while I finished my thesis. After the first day of class, several women dropped because they were afraid of the technical aspects of the class and that learning how to use an awl and a vice would be too much work. Because I’ve used tools in a minimal way all my adult life, I felt fairly confident I could handle the construction aspects of the class.

5. It separates the men from the boys.

Women need tools because men don’t always have them. It’s a sad fact of life that many men and women are sorely lacking in life skills these days. We womenfolk can’t count on fathers, boyfriends, or brothers to pick up the slack anymore, because they don’t always know their way around a toolbox either.

I’ll leave you with an anecdote that illustrates just how badly women need tools (and why some men could use a crash course as well). A date came to pick me up, and I let him in for a minute while I grabbed my things. My power drill was plugged into the wall in a corner. My date pointed to it and asked, “What is that, a hair dryer?”

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