Originally published at The Age Entertainment on June 23, 2014
Disadvantaged by salaries on average 18 per cent less than men, and punished for ‘‘dropping out’’ to rear children with superannuations that are $70,000 lower, women may be better off staying at home improving it. It’s a traditionalist perspective, perhaps. But when it comes to home improvement, women have traditionally been better at the job of project management.
During the first great wave of DIY in the 1950s when a housing boom required scouring for scarce materials, women excelled at the task. ‘‘Women were very active in project managing in the post-war period,’’ says design historian Nanette Carter of Swinburne University. ‘‘Men were at work and the women were at home with the small children. Women had the time to do that. It also comes out of that expectation that women are managing the household budget; it got subsumed in with that.’’
In that regard, nothing much has changed. ‘‘Being a woman [renovator] is an advantage because women make most of the decisions about buying a house,’’ says Bernadette Janson, director of the School of Renovating. ‘‘You’re on the same wavelength as the buyer.’’