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to wonder why women need special classes...

(135 Posts)

...in bricklaying, plumbing, woodwork and decorating effects! Just browsing through the local college prospectus and in starter courses there they are. Specialist decorating effects, intro to woodworking skills, basic plumbing and intro to bricklaying then after listing them all they are repeated but specified For Women.
Do they have lighter bricks for our dainty little hands? Do we use hearts and flowers and fluffy bunnies for decorating effects while the men use ox bollocks as rollers ?
It smacks of let's let the little ladies think they can do these man things. Arent they funny little creatures? fnaar fnaar fnaar snort!
Maybe its less intimidating or they have them for that reason but it seems so patronising.
Rant over.

YouTheCat Thu 29-Aug-13 17:33:26

I find it patronising too.

MrsOakenshield Thu 29-Aug-13 17:35:13

I'm guessing because some women may find it intimidating doing a course for a traditionally 'male' occupation with a load of blokes. I don't know, to be honest, but if it gets more women doing these jobs (if they want to), does it matter?

Feminine Thu 29-Aug-13 17:35:57

I'd prefer to do it in an only women class TBH.

YouTheCat Thu 29-Aug-13 17:37:01

If these are starter classes though everyone will be beginning with little knowledge or expertise.

I think it's better to have mixed classes or it just compounds the view that women aren't as able (which is bollocks).

StephenFrySaidSo Thu 29-Aug-13 17:38:51

is it possible one of the courses is to lead to a qualification that will allow you to work as a (say) bricklayer and the other is less intensive for people who just want to do DIY at home?

Yes mrs O I did think that. But then they'd have to compete in business with these men so why separate them when theyre learning where the blokes could more tolerant?

Could learn to be more tolerant..sorry on my phone.

Nope exactly the same course but labelled..'For Women'

waltzingmathilda Thu 29-Aug-13 17:41:05

I dont understand why they need classes to give birth grin

FranklymydearIdontgiveadamn Thu 29-Aug-13 17:41:10

I did a womens diy course and it was great fun! We all had the same base level of skills and knowledge and no one felt self concious about not knowing things

2beornot Thu 29-Aug-13 17:41:16

I'm guessing because some women may find it intimidating doing a course for a traditionally 'male' occupation with a load of blokes. I don't know, to be honest, but if it gets more women doing these jobs (if they want to), does it matter?

But if they're intimidated on a course, how are they to manage on a building site?

LIZS Thu 29-Aug-13 17:41:41

our local college does these, also basic car maintenance. I think some women may prefer it as they can choose what they want to learn and discuss and try things out without the pressure a male critic. Not sure where the college stands on sexual discrimination as not sure they can legitimately turn a male student away.

2beornot Thu 29-Aug-13 17:42:12

is it possible one of the courses is to lead to a qualification that will allow you to work as a (say) bricklayer and the other is less intensive for people who just want to do DIY at home?

But then they should label them as such, not men and women

StephenFrySaidSo Thu 29-Aug-13 17:43:06

"But if they're intimidated on a course, how are they to manage on a building site?"

a starter course wont be for people going to work on a building site.

StephenFrySaidSo Thu 29-Aug-13 17:43:53

I agree 2be- I was just wondering if that was why the 2 options.

LIZS Thu 29-Aug-13 17:44:14

Agree these are usually leisure/evening classes not vocational.

bamboobutton Thu 29-Aug-13 17:46:04

I can't imagine anything worse that trying to do a traditionally male course surrounded by patronising and condescending men just waiting for me to fuck up so they can smirk in an "I told you women weren't no good at man stuff" smirky way.

YouTheCat Thu 29-Aug-13 17:48:11

Isn't it better to show them that women are perfectly capable?

Why are we so afraid of what men think?

Ok...look at it this way. They dont have basic massage then a separate basic massage for men. Or basic nail art then basic nail art for men. And just to put an extra notch on the patronising tone there is automotive maintenance then Women on Wheels (automotive maintenance for women) they're even taught in the same time slot just a different room. hmm

OhDearNigel Thu 29-Aug-13 17:50:28

I would quite like to do a women's DIY course. I would like to know how to do more DIY stuff but if I ask DH or DF I just get patronised. Or they make things sounds a lot more complex than they are

Don't get me wrong, I've always worked in male-dominated jobs and have absolutely no issue with being the only female in a group of men; however, I would feel more comfortable admitting I can't work out how to use an electric drill in front of a group of women that are probably in the same boat rather than a group of men

exoticfruits Thu 29-Aug-13 17:51:22

I would much prefer a women's only class if I were to do it.
I am presuming they are for DIY. If it was for an apprenticeship they would be in together.

bamboobutton Thu 29-Aug-13 17:53:45

I suppose because massage isn't notorious for ripping men off, patronising them and generally treating them like dimwits.

DiseasesOfTheSheep Thu 29-Aug-13 17:53:45

I'd rather be in the men's group...

But then I might have issues focussing on the task in hand wink

2kidsintow Thu 29-Aug-13 17:54:01

My friend enrolled for a standard mechanics course last year. Her and 8 men.

Due to fears of potential harassment complaints, several times in the year, they had to check she felt comfortable doing certain things when it was just her and a load of men. She thought it ridiculous, but the college would have got in trouble if they hadn't followed their procedures.

Perhaps, running women only classes removes such problems.

Grumpywino Thu 29-Aug-13 17:57:25

I work in a male dominated working environment very happily and confidently, but I too would prefer to do certain courses/tasks in a female environment. I think this is due to having minimal knowledge of DIY type stuff and not being as strong as a man, and wishing to be with like minded and supportive company. There are just certain times that female company is preferable!

Pixel Thu 29-Aug-13 17:57:42

I used to work for a construction fixings and power tools company. I was in the accounts office, there were only three of us women amongst all the salesmen, counter staff, warehousemen, repairmen etc. I was quite surprised to be sent on a course with some salesmen (and still have no idea why) but we had to try out all the power tools and different fixings for plasterboard and the like. It was quite interesting and I had no feeling that I was being patronised. Obviously my boss back then was a lot less sexist than he could have been given the 'macho' nature of the industry!

2kids youay have it there. I'm feeling particularly peevish today with arsey men annoying me when out at the shops with my 3DCs . This just tipped me over the edge. I wouldn't feel in the least intimidated in a class full of men but if they are going to segregate things do it to everything not just the bits where men might get upset that a girl was better grin

YouTheCat Thu 29-Aug-13 18:02:31

But why compound these ridiculous stereotypes?

If there's a bloke on the course who's a mysoginistic arsehole, pull him up on it.

catinabox Thu 29-Aug-13 18:03:50

I can't imagine anything worse that trying to do a traditionally male course surrounded by patronising and condescending men just waiting for me to fuck up so they can smirk in an "I told you women weren't no good at man stuff"

That ^^

Also, we might be better at it than they are grin imagine the uproar.

If i registered for one of these classes i hope I would get the option to have pink tools and pink overalls.

If they are finding women are being put off the mixed gender courses, maybe they should look at fixing the problems there instead of segregating?

LaFataTurchina Thu 29-Aug-13 18:06:02

I think I'd join up for the women only one too, I just want to learn to put up a shelf without having to (potentially) pull my coursemates up on every twattish thing they say.

YouTheCat Thu 29-Aug-13 18:07:33

As Murder said, that isn't going to fix the problem.

Isabeller Thu 29-Aug-13 18:09:26

I would love to do some of these courses, mixed would be ok but women only could be even better.

There was a women run plumbing course I was really interested in a year ago but told it wasn't suitable for pregnant/breastfeeding women and as I was ttc I didn't join sad

Isabeller Thu 29-Aug-13 18:10:49

Ps If I'm doing a course these days I'm more interested in learning the thing I'm there to learn than fighting race/gender/disability battles as I have needed to do in the past.

nemno Thu 29-Aug-13 18:11:17

Can women sign up for the other course? Presumably yes as you didn't say it said 'for men'. I'd sign up for that one. I am sad that there is the need for the women's course but it sounds from this thread that there is then I'd rather it existed than not. Repeating that I'd rather still that it wasn't necessary. Hopefully the sexist twats on the unisex course will still be kept in line.

But Isabellar if you are going to work in a predominantly male industry then you are going to have to fight gender battles anyway.

Grumpywino Thu 29-Aug-13 18:13:04

I love the idea of challenging stereotypes and male brutish behaviour but really, honestly, what has womens lib got us so far???? Can't we just learn a bit of DIY in peace? And put up our Brad Pitt/One Direction/George Clooney calendars?

"but really, honestly, what has womens lib got us so far????"

Whole other thread.. but really?

Grumpywino Thu 29-Aug-13 18:17:27

Really.

Many years ago my mother told me that most men pay lip service to womens lib. I disagreed then, life experience has taught me otherwise.

McNewPants2013 Thu 29-Aug-13 18:18:06

After you have the qualification you have a lifetime to sort gender battles out.

On a course, then all i want to do is concentrate and get the work done.

I wouldn't care either way

TheSlug Thu 29-Aug-13 18:20:16

I would much rather do this course for women than join one that is going to be predominantly male. Also to whoever asked about turning a man away from a woman's course, they will be able to because it's positive discrimination- redressing the imbalance in the workforce.

So I'm just imagining the vote? the fact we can now work? that we can own property? that husbands now cannot force their wives to have sex with them? etc.

It's done a fair bit. Still got a way to go obviously. But one thing we don't have to do is be educated separately. And it is the job of the school/college etc to make sure that both sexes can be taught alongside each other without needing segregation.

sameoldIggi Thu 29-Aug-13 18:21:32

Someone asked about sex discrimination - I imagine they would be viewed as positive action, to redress a gender imbalance in the usual uptake of classes.
I have taken a women only car maintenance class. It was a lot of fun. I would not have signed up (especially at the age I was then) for a mixed class - and realistically for mixed you can read "male".

SomethingOnce Thu 29-Aug-13 18:21:59

I'm wondering if perhaps they had low uptake by women and did a survey to find out why, and the results indicated that more women would take the courses if they were women only. If it was responsive rather than patronising, wouldn't that be ok?

somethingonce yes it would be ok if it was responsive but renaming the automotive maintenence ' Women on Wheels' is patronizing to me.

Isabeller Thu 29-Aug-13 18:39:21

True sometimes Murder but still a bit of a waste of energy when there is a real choice. Lots of women working as plumbers aren't working with men though and that quite appeals. Probably not a realistic possibility for me.

Isabeller Thu 29-Aug-13 18:41:10

True sometimes Murder but still a bit of a waste of energy when there is a real choice. Lots of women working as plumbers aren't working with men though and that quite appeals. It's probably not a realistic possibility for me to train in a new practical skill now but I still hanker a bit.

MorrisZapp Thu 29-Aug-13 18:42:59

They don't need separate classes. But obviously they want them.

If I was to attend a tiling class, I'd much rather go to a women's one.

Well looking at the responses on here I'd guess it was a response thing. I am actually quite surprised how many would prefer a women only class. Its not something I would think 'oh yes, that class will be more enjoyable' with just women. I'm not judging just saying.

YouTheCat Thu 29-Aug-13 18:50:51

For years my ex belittled me and told me I was rubbish at all kinds of things. He especially liked to seize control by making out I was hopeless at all decorating/diy and making me feel crap.

I've now discovered I can actually decorate and even managed to cut and fit blinds myself (in half the time it took him to do it). And the reason he belittled me was because I was actually better than him at these things and he didn't like me threatening his masculinity hmm .

I will never ever allow a man to do that without setting him right.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 29-Aug-13 18:54:37

I heard in some areas they do this for particular religious groups, not sure which. The women are only allowed to be taught by women in classes of women or a man with a woman teacher too.
Its the same at some leisure centres too.
Not saying it is this, but could be.

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 29-Aug-13 19:02:37

I organised a women only course because it was specifically asked for.

MorrisZapp Thu 29-Aug-13 19:03:26

My gran gained a new lease of life after attending a computer course for the elderly. There's no objective reason why the elderly would need separate classes, but if the class hadn't existed, my gran would never have attended one 'for young people'.

Schools have to be inclusive, but these are elective courses for people who have left school and can choose how to spend their time.

exexpat Thu 29-Aug-13 19:12:19

Women-only course for women actually wanting to learn to do stuff without being patronised, mixed (ie mostly men) one open to women following all the cliched women's-magazine dating advice about meeting men at evening classes? Only to be disappointed when they are all over 60 and/or married...

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 29-Aug-13 19:13:13

What courses do you run BBJ?

It would be handy if it was a plastering course in the South East grin

That's it, isn't it Morris - it doesn't matter how people should feel, it's about how the do feel and if it makes some women more comfortable, then so what really?!

exoticfruits Thu 29-Aug-13 19:18:39

I went to a car maintenance class for women - I can see a need and don't see anything wrong with it.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Aug-13 19:21:05

I couldn't care less now I 'should' feel.- it is how I feel that matters. I organised the car maintenance one because of the demand for it.

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 29-Aug-13 19:28:01

Chipping

Mainly those that have been mentioned already, motor vehicle, plumbing, household electrics.

HerrenaHarridan Thu 29-Aug-13 19:29:00

Look past the end of your own nose, honestly!

Women only spaces, courses etc need to be allowed to exist for a number of reasons.

To enable women/girls from religious families access to courses that would otherwise be unable to attend.

To enable women who would be to insecure to learn a skill they are interested in

To enable women (like I used to be) who have been too traumatised by men to enter a make dominated environment.

As long as women are free to join the other course if they prefer what is your problem?

Would you rather people less Bolshy than yourself (and now me) didn't have a safe space to learn 'traditional' male skills?

MrsApplepants Thu 29-Aug-13 19:33:04

I did a plumbing course, was me and 7 men. Was great. Loved the banter and we all ate pies from the van at lunchtime. The only difficulty I had was getting a pair of safety boots in a size 4. I was cut no slack for being female which was great. I can't see the need for female only classes myself but appreciate other women may feel uncomfortable.

GibberTheMonkey Thu 29-Aug-13 19:37:53

I want to learn plastering.
Struggling to find a course aimed at anyone at all.

HerrenaHarridan Thu 29-Aug-13 19:41:04

Gosh I didn't actually mean for that to come across quite that nippy.

I spent the 7 years I was with my ex defending the need for women only spaces and am thoroughly sick of the discussion. However that obviously doesn't mean everyone else is /should be blush

What I was trying to say is if you don't feel the need for them you are one of the lucky ones but please don't begrudge them to someone who does.

I don't feel the need for buses in Manchester but I'm not offended that they exist grin

In an ideal world it wouldn't be necessary, however on a oath toward an ideal world, enough women need to be able to speak /act knowledgeably on these subjects that the assumption they are men's subjects is eroded.

In theory they would gradually become less necessary, lets hope smile

PoppyWearer Thu 29-Aug-13 19:42:16

I did a women-only course and it was brilliant, not intimidating at all. I tried my hand at things I would not have done otherwise.

PoppyWearer Thu 29-Aug-13 19:42:46

I did a women-only course and it was brilliant, not intimidating at all. I tried my hand at things I would not have done otherwise.

Saffyz Thu 29-Aug-13 19:54:39

> If they are finding women are being put off the mixed gender courses, maybe they should look at fixing the problems there instead of segregating?

This.

Growlithe Thu 29-Aug-13 19:59:13

I've got to admit, and I'm sorry to womankind for admitting it, but on the whole most men tend to be physically stronger than me.

So for say a bricklaying or plastering course, I think specific techniques based on this fact may be beneficial to me, but not to men.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 29-Aug-13 20:02:30

Saffyz but that assumes that the problem is the course itself, which often it isn't, but things that have happened previously in the woman's life.

Lweji Thu 29-Aug-13 20:09:08

Probably because then we can get on with learning instead of having men around talking out of their arses pretending to know what they're talking about.

And the men probably drop out if a woman is on their class because we learn faster.

Just guessing.

I practice a male dominated martial art and some men can be either patronising or feel threatened (most who don't attend my class and aren't used to us women).

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 29-Aug-13 20:15:01

Lweji
"Probably because then we can get on with learning instead of having men around talking out of their arses pretending to know what they're talking about.

And the men probably drop out if a woman is on their class because we learn faster."

That is a fairly major generalisation.

WafflyVersatile Thu 29-Aug-13 20:29:09

I think there was a study which suggested girls at school learn better in female only classes (and possibly that boys learn better in mixed, I forget)

I agree that if learning in a male environment is off-putting because of misogyny then that has to be addressed but even if it is it would take a while for the perception to change so women would still not be signing up as much to find out.

Also what Herrena said.

If there is a need then it is good that we have them, but we shouldn't need them so you're right to be a bit pissed off.

A friend recently trained in a trade and now works on building sites. From what she says there is a little misogynistic treat every day.

Lweji Thu 29-Aug-13 20:36:27

Boney, it was tongue in cheek. smile

DuckToWater Thu 29-Aug-13 20:44:08

Fair enough to have single gender classes, though I'd be put off if it were advertised in a patronising way.

slightlysoupstained Thu 29-Aug-13 20:51:51

I did a women's woodworking class when I was 16, it was fab. The women running it also did girls classes, for kids as young as five - they were immensely chuffed at how their tiny pupils would happily launch into building stuff bigger than they were.

Apparently when the first cohorts hit secondary school & school woodworking lessons, the male teachers didn't know what had hit 'em: all these tiny, very competent & utterly confident eleven year old girls blew their minds.

slightlysoupstained Thu 29-Aug-13 21:04:45

As for "they'll need to cope once they're working":

a) these sound like they were probably leisure classes, so not relevant
B) even if not, it's a lot easier to learn when you're in an environment where you have a whole range of different levels of competence from people of your gender, especially when that subject has a lot of stereotyping attached.

Seriously, look up stereotype threat: it actually impairs your performance if you're constantly conscious of being in the minority that's "not supposed to be good at this".

WMittens Thu 29-Aug-13 21:12:04

Can someone help me understand what is and isn't fair: women-only classes for building/allied trades/car maintenance, women-only charity races, women-only swimming/gym/pilates/yoga sessions, women-only cooking lessons and women-only meditation sessions?

Bluegrass Thu 29-Aug-13 21:43:11

They help fuel the idea that women are the weaker, gentler sex that need protecting from nasty men (let's face it, the men doing these courses are just men who want to learn a new skill too, just ordinary men, sons and husbands, not gang members or hardened criminals who need to be segregated from civilised society).

Put this alongside the dislike of anything billed as "men only" and I don't this it is a particularly helpful message.

SigmundFraude Thu 29-Aug-13 22:12:05

Well, they seem to be wasting their time with 'women are delicate flowers who must learn to be brickies with other women' classes, because I've never yet seen a female brickie. Or joiner, or electrician, or mechanic for that matter, though I'm sure one or two exist. Maybe the government should push for 30% quotas.

FreyaSnow Thu 29-Aug-13 22:29:32

I don't understand how any of this is an issue at all. It sounds like it is a course to learn basic skills, not to give people the appropriate qualifications for entrance to an industry.

There are courses for men, courses or women, courses for young people, courses only for those over 18, courses just for NEETs, courses for people who have limited spoken English, courses for people who are retired and courses for people who have young children. The content of these courses can be about a wide variety of topics, not about the people taking them.

Who is it actually hurting? Male only cooking or weight loss classes are not having a negative impact on my life, and I doubt women only DIY classes are having a negative impact on men.

Saffyz Thu 29-Aug-13 22:38:14

> Saffyz but that assumes that the problem is the course itself, which often it isn't, but things that have happened previously in the woman's life.

In that case why not make an effort to assure women that similar things (sexism, harrassment etc.) won't be tolerated on the mixed course? It should be any sexist men who are immediately removed from the course, not women who've done nothing wrong and have every right to feel comfortable on any course that interests them.

Takver Thu 29-Aug-13 22:39:27

SigmundFraude - if you want to find a tradeswoman, look at WAMT. Though I think you have to pay to be on their 'find a tradeswoman' list and as tradeswomen tend to be much in demand I don't think many bother. There aren't lots, but they do exist!

I did a womens' motor mechanics course many years ago in my late teens - I think I would have been too shy to go on a course full of blokes at that point, so I was very glad it existed. It was a basic course, not intended for anyone planning to work in the field.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 29-Aug-13 22:45:43

saffyz - if a woman has been abused and repeatedly told she can't do anything right, is hopeless, is useless and much worse by her father and her (hopefully ex) boyfriends & partners she may lack the confidence to try to gain a new skill in a very male environment, irrespective of how those men may or may not act. This would provide them with an environment they feel safe in & they could learn a new skill, gain some confidence & generally start to regain some self belief. Why is that such a terrible thing?

exoticfruits Thu 29-Aug-13 22:47:50

They are all leisure classes. I wouldn't expect problems in a leisure class- I would still prefer female only for DIY or cars.

SoupDragon Thu 29-Aug-13 22:49:54

What exactly is the problem with this?
If you want to be in a mixed class, book a mixed class.
If you would prefer to learn with women only, book a women only class.
The only people who are stuffed are men who want a men only class.

pigsDOfly Thu 29-Aug-13 23:16:30

I did a women's DIY course several years ago and quite a number of the women were recently divorced and wanted to learn how these skills so they wouldn't have to pay someone else to do them. Several of the woman were doing other building type courses, one woman was halfway through a carpentry course.

It wasn't aimed at 'little women'. We learned valuable skills: painting, tiling, plastering, electrical wiring etc. I've saved a fortune utilising what I learned. It was just good to do it with other women.

EBearhug Fri 30-Aug-13 01:35:19

I'd want to do a mixed class, mostly so I could look smug if I did it better than everyone else (or at least better than the men.)

But then I work in a very male-dominated area, and the majority of techy courses I've been on for work, I've been the only woman, so I'm used to it - and I also grew up doing practical stuff at home, so I know I can do it, I just need training in specific techniques that I'm unfamiliar with.

I am aware of stereotype threat, and as much as I wish there weren't single sex courses and exercise sessions and so on, I do understand the need for it - without it, some women just wouldn't do it at all.

exoticfruits Fri 30-Aug-13 06:36:06

People always manage to see problems where there are not any. Some women want women only classes- they are provided. Simple.

unlucky83 Fri 30-Aug-13 07:26:43

I'm guessing this is a community college thing...kind of thing that people use to meet new people/friends as well ...
You would assume the majority of people doing a brick laying course would be men - and therefore not a good class to try and make female friends...and maybe (wrongly) it might be assumed that a women doing that course was trying to find a man - which might put some women off!
Lots of women would have a problem with going somewhere they thought they would be the only female etc - no-one likes to feel the odd one out...
(I used to work and flat share with all men - wouldn't worry me)
I know I'm probably wrong - but long ago came to the conclusion that if a man rushes to lift something heavy etc for me because I am a poor weak woman why shouldn't I just let him? More fool him. Why do I feel the need to prove a point? Do I really want to put my back out when I can watch someone else do theirs instead?
Funniest eg of this recently - I was on the scrounge for some pallets to make a wood store, a couple of workmen building a garage with a couple of pallets hanging around - stopped and asked them if I could have them - neither of them spoke much English (eastern Europeans I think) - obviously thought I was mad - but then proceeded to carefully load them into my car for me - shaking their heads when I tried to pick one up! Sorry - but why would I want to get splinters and covered in mud and plaster dust if someone else was happy to do it for me!

EBearhug Fri 30-Aug-13 12:34:53

Yes - that was a point made on the (mixed, but only two blokes out of the 9 or 10 of us,) car maint course I did when I first got my car. If someone else offers to do the hard, dirty work, let them - but by doing the course, you have a choice and are less likely to have the wool pulled over your eyes through ignorance.

The thing that made me laugh was the one time I had to change a tyre, I physically could not get the wheel nuts undone. But the one-armed man from across the road and my colleague in a wheelchair managed it between them. So much for me being the one without a physical disability! (I knew what to do, I just didn't have the strength by myself.)

unlucky83 Fri 30-Aug-13 13:02:29

Loosing wheel nuts - you need a tube to go over your wheel brace/socket - makes it longer so gives more leverage and/or use your foot to kick it downwards - works everytime - but not needed if there is someone who will do it for you!...
Tyre fitting garages with their machines for the nuts used to be good at over tightening them - my dear uncle (died last year sad) used to check them with a torque wrench and copper grease them for me when I was visiting so I would always be able to change a tyre if I needed to - even after I was a member of the AA...

Katiepoes Fri 30-Aug-13 13:18:45

I've done DIY classes with both mixed and women only. Much preferred the women only - the mixed ones the women spent a lot of time explaining that no we didn't need help lifting, yes we did have partners, no we were not gay... - not one if those men thought they were being arses.

Too tiring, I wanted to learn skills to save me some cash, if I do another I will actually seek out a women only, I now pick my battles. I work in a male dominated IT area btw.

Having said that I only want women only - not pink or glittery or to be referred to as a girl.

theodorakisses Fri 30-Aug-13 13:51:18

I can't bear anything that's women only. Are the other ones men only?

mrsjay Fri 30-Aug-13 14:05:33

because women may fin d a mixed class intimidating and if they want to learn man skills then perhaps they want to do it without men sayiung oiy love is that too heavy for ya or some such rubbish yab a little u to think this is sexist , I used to work in a scheme where school leavers were taught decorating woodwork some plumbing and the girls were few and far between and 16 to 18 yr old lads can be a pita those girls got a hard time

mrsjay Fri 30-Aug-13 14:08:07

oh on the flip side I have seen cooking courses for men only run at a community centre near me apparently it was a lot of older men who were divorced and their wives did the cooking

theodorakisses Fri 30-Aug-13 14:09:19

There is nothing I dread more than being in a room full of women and men are banned. The conversation generally descends into competitive parenting tedium.

mrsjay Fri 30-Aug-13 14:15:57

but you would be building a wall theo grin fwiw I never talk about my children if im in a group of people well i may mention them but men talk about their kids too, different strokes for different folks and all that I think single sex classes or courses are a good idea and they have their place,

CuChullain Fri 30-Aug-13 14:16:32

I did a car mechanics course with Mrs CuChullain last year, although the college offered a womens only course she elected to join the non segregated class. Yes, she was the only women and about half the size of everyone else she held her own and the other blokes were nothing but helpful and friendly. The only bit she struggled a tiny bit with was lifting the heavy tyres but she managed to work out her own technique that enabled her to do this without assistance. She did ask what was included in the ladies only course and apparently it was a watered down version of what the guys did which struck me as odd.

sashh Fri 30-Aug-13 14:17:13

But if they're intimidated on a course, how are they to manage on a building site?

They are not going to work on a building site, they are going to decorate their own homes.

Thank about a 50+ widow whose husband used to do the decorating, is she really going o be at home in a room with teenage boys? The classes that are not for women will be mainly filled with young men.

The widow might love the idea, but some won't.

cory Fri 30-Aug-13 14:19:03

I used to attend an all women Bible study class. It was great: serious thought, challenging discussions, great openness.

And then we agreed to merge with the men's group, mainly consisting of spouses. The whole atmosphere changed instantly: instead of thinking seriously about the issues most of the women in the class spent the meetings listening attentively to the men pontificating, cocking their heads in admiration, making sure that they knew just how wonderful and important their viewpoints were. Very little thinking went on until we changed back: the men didn't have to do any under the circumstances and the women clearly felt for them to do it would be presumptious.

Lovecat Fri 30-Aug-13 14:25:07

What Cory said - the presence of men definitely changes a group dynamic and, sadly, not usually for the better.

Otoh, DH would like to attend a motor maintenance class that was either one on one or otherwise full of women, as then he could admit that he doesn't even know how to open a car bonnet and not feel ashamed of this apparent gap in his 'manliness' (don't get me started on that one!)

Lovecat Fri 30-Aug-13 14:30:02

Although if it were a women-only-with-dispensation-for-DH class, he no doubt would still be expected to inherently 'know' stuff about cars by some of the class.

A friend once asked him to look at her washing machine as it was leaking. He had no idea and said so. I took a look and pointed out the rubber door seal had perished and she needed to get a new one. She looked at DH and asked 'is that right?' confused He told her he had no idea but then when I told her that it was a simple matter to replace it and could show her how, she said 'oh, yes, I'd be much happier if DH could do it for me'..... I stopped myself from saying that possession of a willy does not confer magical powers of DIY, but only just...

Callani Fri 30-Aug-13 14:39:27

I've been to mixed(!) woodwork classes because it was something I was personally interested in, rather than something I wanted to work at, and to be honest I found the men to be a right pain a lot of the time.

They constantly asked me if I needed help, or double checked that I understood things that were crystal clear, and when I was learning to do things (so naturally not doing things exactly right the first time, like every other blinking class member) they always wanted to step in to show me how to do it - even if they were getting things wrong too!

Now these men weren't being patronising, or intimidating, they were genuinely trying to help me, but it came from an assumption that I was less capable than they were and it was SO frustrating and I had to bite my tongue not to say something rude. I would be tempted by a women only course now, if only so I wasn't automatically seen as the weakest member of the class, just for having (rather small) breasts...

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 30-Aug-13 14:39:58

mrsjay

The cooking course is about the only type of course that I have seen that is male only. I think given the problems that I have had trying to organise male only events that there is some sort of unwritten rule that it is not allowed.

CuChullain

"She did ask what was included in the ladies only course and apparently it was a watered down version of what the guys did which struck me as odd."

I find it odd as well, all of the courses I organised had the exactly the same content. Otherwise, what would be the point.

mrsjay Fri 30-Aug-13 14:57:21

I guess you are right boney maybe women are more open to going along to something new and different, I know where i work have tried to organised men events and they dont work as well,

DD is doing what is seen as a male orientated course/degree and she is one of 3 girls but she doesn't get a watered down version and if she cant lift something she just asks whoever stronger is around, but i still think there is a place for women only courses,

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 30-Aug-13 15:20:31

The thing is MrsJay was not that we couldn't get the attendance (we had enough for two classes), we had many complaints about the fact that it was male only (we were running a women only as well).

I have found IME that you can run mixed and women only courses but even if you have mixed and women you still can't (generally) have male only courses.

I agree, OP, it's ridiculous.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 30-Aug-13 15:46:52

themaltesefalcon - just curious, have you actually read the thread and seen the reasons why some women do value this option, or have you just replied to the OP without reading the thread first?

comingalongnicely Fri 30-Aug-13 15:55:49

There are a lot of "women only" classes, courses and clubs in Kayaking. Main reason given is that they're happier where technique isn't overruled by brute force, where they don't get patronised by meat headed men & where they can have a good old "girlie time".

It's not like they don't still paddle with men, they just like a bit of time away from them....

Takver Fri 30-Aug-13 16:58:48

You do get men only groups/courses - for example a friend attends a male only NVC (non violent communication) group. There I guess the men are stereotypically felt in society to be less competent, so they feel more comfortable learning new skills in a single sex setting.

mrsjay Fri 30-Aug-13 17:00:40

I was in a mixed class at a part time course I did and tbh it was a pita although the men in it were young early 20s (if that) i felt like A they didnt take it seriously enough and mucked about the lecturer was like a school teacher half the time and B I was their mum hmm

mrsjay Fri 30-Aug-13 17:01:47

I dont know why people would object to men only

ivykaty44 Fri 30-Aug-13 17:04:14

I thought it was for the same reason that there are single sex schools, because woman and men learn to do something in different ways at different paces and need different teaching styles

sameoldIggi Fri 30-Aug-13 17:04:43

Women tend to speak less when there are men present.

OP YANBU - I don't see the need either although I can see some of you do. I personally find it patronising and unnecessary.

From my point of view, I grew up with a misogynist father who had worked in the building trade and who didn't think women were capable of anything. I can't imagine wanting to do a women only course that would, imo, just prove him right. It would just give him ammunition to say women were somehow doing a lesser course and needed to be taught separately because they couldn't hack being in a mixed group.

I don't actually think that women only courses are the way to go if you want to challenge gender stereotypes or if you want to come to expect equality. Let the men see that women are just as capable. Why would men be on the same course if they knew it all - you are all starting from the same point in terms of experience surely? No need to feel intimidated by the men.

Also, let women see that not all men are God's gift to DIY or the building trade. Has anybody thought that perhaps the colleges are protecting the poor delicate little men who don't want to be shown up by women in a mixed class - apologies if somebody has - I haven't read every single word of the thread. What a dent to the ego for the hapless man who comes bottom of a mixed group!! wink

But then I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about women only business networking groups. I truly don't see the point. The whole thing about networking is to get your business known and to share information and advice. How is it beneficial to women if they are only prepared to do business with half the population? That is a whole other thread though.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 30-Aug-13 17:37:05

We tried to run a father and son cooking workshop and we were inundated with complaints about how it was not "inclusive" and "sexist", so it became a parent and child cooking workshop.

That we also advertised at the same time mother and son, mother and daughter, father and daughter, parent and child was immaterial.

TheCraicDealer Fri 30-Aug-13 17:48:11

I would go to the women's one, simply to make friends. I work in a male-dominated industry, but I miss being with a lot of other women sometimes. You miss the different dynamic after a while. Fwiw I would've baulked at this before, always cringed slightly when I saw ads for "women's gyms" or whatever. But so long as we have the choice what the fuck does it matter?

mrsjay Fri 30-Aug-13 17:58:00

We tried to run a father and son cooking workshop and we were inundated with complaints about how it was not "inclusive" and "sexist", so it became a parent and child cooking workshop

That for want of a better word is loopy imo

exoticfruits Fri 30-Aug-13 18:27:51

There is nothing I dread more than being in a room full of women and men are banned. The conversation generally descends into competitive parenting tedium.

Yours must be young-thankfully everyone outgrows it.

Katiepoes Fri 30-Aug-13 20:08:13

Bertha women's business networks are to support each other and provide mentoring and learning opportunities, not about who you actually do business with. I am happy you don't feel a need for them but in the world I am in they are important and beneficial.

They are not about patronising poor weak girlies, anymore than classes are. They are acknowledging a desire for women-centric spaces and groups. How about joining one before passing a rather dated judgment?

WMittens Fri 30-Aug-13 21:54:55

sameoldIggi

Women tend to speak less when there are men present.

What a load of tosh.

sameoldIggi Fri 30-Aug-13 22:10:23

Er.. That's me told? hmm I don't agree, can't remember where all I've read about it (and conversations with friends confirmed it for me too) but a quick google threw this up - just demonstrating it's not just my idea

Well thishasmoved on since I last checked
Seems the majority think that this less patronizing and more necessary than I would have thought. Some interesting points raised that just wouldnt have occured to me.

EBearhug Fri 30-Aug-13 23:43:55

It's not just that women will speak up less in mixed environments, but also that many speakers/teachers/chairpeople will be more likely to notice men with hands up in the room, or at least are more likely to ask men with hands up what their question is. (Can't be bothered to google for a study just now.)

zeno Fri 30-Aug-13 23:47:02

It may have to do with funding. There's a lot of money around to support training for women in areas where they are under represented. For example, there is a business course in my area which is targeted at women, under 25s, people with a disability, and ethnic minority people. The funding criteria dictate the offering,.

slightlysoupstained Fri 30-Aug-13 23:47:21

EBearhug the girls in my 5th form (hah, that ages me) physics class did our own research on that one.

The girls managed, with some effort, to wrestle a whole TWO MINUTES of attention from our appallingly sexist prick of a teacher during a 90 minute session. All the rest was spent on the boys.

EBearhug Sat 31-Aug-13 03:04:58

In some ways, I think I was v lucky to go to a single sex secondary school. I was v taken aback when I got treated differently just because I was a girl, and challenged it. I think school probsbly set some values and expectations which may not have been so strong in a mixed school. So yes, I guess I see the value in women only evening classes.

EBearhug Sat 31-Aug-13 03:05:37

**probably

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sat 31-Aug-13 04:14:29

EBearHug

Me too. That was back in the 80s.

I was going to agree with Someone further back. It's about the learning environment. You can battle sexism once you have learned your skill

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sat 31-Aug-13 04:17:55

This: (McNewPants2012)

"After you have the qualification you have a lifetime to sort gender battles out.

On a course, then all i want to do is concentrate and get the work done"

WMittens Sat 31-Aug-13 09:36:10

I don't agree, can't remember where all I've read about it

What a fantastic article! So I've been "groomed for assertiveness since birth"? Wonderful, I'll tell my therapist that I'm cured, I never had a problem and I don't need her help any more.

It's just more sexist rubbish reinforcing boundaries rather than removing them.

Maybe I just work in a more progressive environment than those observed in the study, but the areas of IT, sales and relationship management that I've been involved in women have made at least proportional contributions (in terms of numbers), if not more.

I currently work in a female-dominated environment and I would be interested to see what a study said about those situations.

EBearhug Sat 31-Aug-13 09:44:59

The area of IT I work in, women certainly don't make a proportional contribution in terms of numbers - I have often been the only one, and certainly always a minority.

megsmouse Sat 31-Aug-13 09:51:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BarbarianMum Sat 31-Aug-13 10:06:21

<<I think I'd join up for the women only one too, I just want to learn to put up a shelf without having to (potentially) pull my coursemates up on every twattish thing they say.>>

^^ This was exactly why I took women only courses in basic woodworking and car maintenance. Sometimes you just want to learn to change a tyre, not deliver a seminar in equality.

Actually, the men I found most problematic were not the young and mouthy ones but the older ones who felt obliged to take over try and help because 'you're just a young lady and don't want to get yourself dirty'. Smiling whilst hanging on to your wrench and insisting that you're fine is very tiring and at 21 I had enough on my plate trying to modernise my dad's well meaning but misogynistic thinking without taking on the rest of Yorkshire as well.

BarbarianMum Sat 31-Aug-13 10:08:25

In my own field I am quite often the only woman on a course etc but that doesn't bother me at all because its an area I feel confident in.

I have seen Men only cooking and sowing courses (15 odd years ago) - I guess they were run for similar reasons.

Katiepoes - I find women only business groups rather dated personally. I have been to a session. Never again - I got nothing out of it that couldn't have got from a mixed group but then I am happy to learn from anybody though, not just other women. I truly don't see the point but if you do fine. I just think you are giving some men even more of a reason to look down on you. There is nothing crusading in that. I don't feel the need - I just don't do not see what benefits it adds.

To me women only business groups are like toddler groups. A bit like some mothers don't like toddler groups because they don't like the premise that we should all get on just because we are all mothers (mostly) and happen to have children the same age. I don't like women only groups because the only reason we are in the same group is because we are all women which doesn't really add anything for me. If we were all in it because we had the same interests or the same type of business or any issue more focussed than just our gender I could see the point but not just because I happen to be female.

This is getting off the point of the thread though. This isn't about business groups. Mixing for business is not the same as a learning situation.

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