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Davis: Empowerment comes at Ms. Fix-It Fair

I can sit in the house all winter and successfully ignore how it is falling down around me. My husband is gifted at that, too.

But when spring comes, household repairs scream out to be made. Those screams, however, are heard only by me because my husband, a T-ball coach, is in a park across town.

It is the most frustrating time of year for me. I want things done and when I look around no one is there to do them, except me.

Laura Lynch said knowledge and encouragement might be all I need.

That's why Lynch, assistant professor of construction technology at Bluegrass Community and Technology College in Lawrenceburg, was a founding member of the Ms. Fix-It Fair, a six-hour event brimming with workshops geared to helping women become less apprehensive about tackling small jobs around the house.

This is the fourth year for the fair, sponsored by Bluegrass Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction and BCTC.

The workshops feature novice and advance classes regarding home maintenance, remodeling, drywall repair, weatherization, decorating and gardening.

"I'm trying to get more women and girls empowered," Lynch said. "They are very capable of doing this work."

Lynch, a carpenter by trade for 25 years, is so convinced of that empowerment that she started a program for middle and high school girls about 10 years ago to help make construction work less gender specific.

"Girls Can, Too" meets one Saturday a month during the school year to introduce young girls to careers in construction, Lynch said. "There are people with naturally given talents that we could be making good use of," she said, adding some of those people are being held back by socially or culturally accepted barriers. Members of the Women in Construction group help by sharing their skills with the girls.

"Knowledge is power, and the more we empower, the better off all of us will be."

Besides that, she said, construction jobs pay good money.

Lynch's efforts to encourage women to branch out of artificial boundaries recently earned her the Legacy Award from the Bluegrass Alliance for Women. It recognizes women and girls whose activities focus on economic sufficiency, education, equity, health and well-being, and leadership.

Lynch noted women own 51 percent of the housing units but make up only 2 percent of the construction trade.

While it may be a little late for me to venture into construction as a career, I can at least learn enough to fix small problems around the house and to ask intelligent questions of any repair person I might hire.

Lynch said with so many experts around at the fair, I might also find a reputable contractor and other resources right there.

I am so ready.

Tickets are available at the door. You can stay for just one workshop or all of them. The full schedule of workshops can be viewed at http://bgnawic.org.

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