by Michele Yulo
IF YOU GIVE A GIRL A TOOL BELT
She will learn what each tool does.
She will learn to take things apart.
She will learn to build.
She will learn to fix.
She will learn how to measure.
She will understand how things work.
She will know that she is capable.
She will be empowered.
She will dream bigger.
My daughter has had her own tool belt since she was three and a half years old. She demanded a real one made of leather. We brought her to Home Depot and let her pick one out. It was way too big for her little body, but we got it for her and adjusted it to fit. When she first started wearing it, the hammer hung down to her knee making it difficult to walk. She didn’t care.
On many days, she says, “I want to build something.” Then she and my husband, who is a carpenter, head to the garage, set up the sawhorse, grab a plank of wood that is always available, and go to work. This last time, she helped to build a shelf for our music studio. She chose the color stain and stained it.
In my opinion, this is one simple way to provide girls with broader interests and skills that can serve them throughout their lives. It doesn't seem a stretch to say that, perhaps, if we encourage girls to tinker from a young age, we might see the problem with a lack of women in STEM careers begin to dissipate. I do know this: I wish someone had given me a tool belt when I was little.