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If You Give a Girl a Tool Belt

by Michele Yulo


My daughter and her tool beltMy character, Lula, ready to build














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.



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Reader Comments (5)

Just wondering...what is the age/reading level for this book? My little one is still in the board book stage of life. Wondering how long I need to wait before this is developmentally appropriate for her! Don't worry though, she has play tools! We will have to wait a bit before a toolbelt is okay.

January 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

Love the poem! She looks cute with that tool belt on! -Sarah-

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCheap Poster Printing

Hi Becca--the book is short chapter and is for kids anywhere from about 5 to 8 years old.

January 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterMichele

I feel fortunate to have always believed I could do just about anything I put my mind or body to, even as a little girl. I grew up in a rural environment, and I learned from a young age to use tools, fix stuff, and do "dirty" work. I have never been afraid of physical labour. If I don't know how to do something I will find out. Read the instructions, be curious, explore, try, fail, succeed. I have stacked wood, diverted streams, and rewired electrical appliances. This morning, after my run, I spent 45 minutes chopping kindling for the fireplace with an axe. I know how to manage my own website, and I do all my own social media. I also look gorgeous in a ball gown. I am a Renaissance Woman. All little girls should be exposed to the tools and techniques that will allow them to reach their full potential. We all deserve to be Renaissance Women. I like your idea: simple, fun, easy to implement, and potentially hugely impactful. Nice post. More about being a Renaissance Woman here:

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmazingSusan

My daughter is 2 1/2 and she LOVES to build. She is the girlest tomboy you will ever meet as in she will put on a purple tutu and tiara to help daddy renovate the bathroom (or go jump in a mud puddle). We take her to the work shops are Home Depot and Lowes. She needs help but shes learning how to swing a hammer correctly, follow printed instructions, use wood glue and paint. I love that its free and both my kids ( 2 1/2 girl and 4 1/2 boy) both enjoy it!

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

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