While sometimes the struggle for gender equality and women’s rights gets too hard and stale, every once in a while something happens that shows that hard work does pay off.
This time, it’s plumbing.
On Thursday, June 20th, the National Council for Women in Sohag governorate, in co-operation with the Holding Company for Water & Wastewater, is starting a training program to teach women and train them on house plumbing. That’s according to a statement made by Dr. Sahar Wahba, the rapporteur of the council, Youm7 reported.
Also according to Dr. Sahar, this one-day training program is completely free of charge and will be delivered to 30 women, as a start. Each of the 30 trainees will also get her own tool kit bag at the end of the training, Dr. Whaba added.
She also explained that this edition is not going to be the last of this program and that so many more women will continue to have the chance to develop their plumbing skills through these courses in the future.
Controversial or groundbreaking?
Well, both, actually.
This movement opens the door wide for women to venture into a mostly male-dominant field. So whether you agree with the movement or not, you can’t deny how rules-defying and groundbreaking it is.
It places women on a whole new spectrum from which they were extremely excluded.
It also opens a flood gate of new job opportunities for working women. So this program just basically lays down the path for a better quality of life for a lot of women.
This doesn’t only change things to the better for the women included in the program, but to all women who have considered any kind of “less traditional” career paths like plumbing and backed down due to society’s taboos and stereotypes.
For the same reason why it’s groundbreaking.
Anything new that defies any pre-existing rules makes for a fight. Because those comfortable with the status quo will find it hard to adapt to new circumstances.
Especially when it comes to women “invading” male-dominant fields, it seems to tick a lot of people off. Because -as some men put it- it’s considered trespassing on male property and getting in the way of men and their work opportunities.
Basically, it means that men have to share the cake, and that’s something they’re not in favor of.
So naturally, this movement -seeing how unusual and untraditional it is- will stir quite the heat once it starts to produce well-trained professional women plumbers.
And of course, there is the “that’s not a feminine job” side of the conversation which relies solely on the ancient stereotype that women should only do feminine jobs.
But we think, our mechanics, drivers, engineers, athletes, and ministers have done enough to prove that no job is “too masculine” for a woman to do. And certainly not plumbing.
As positive of a step as it is, one can’t help but hope it was made on a bigger scale. Had it been done on a wider range, it could have made a bigger difference.
In other words, 30 women aren’t enough to make the change we hope to see; we need more so that ‘women plumbers’ don’t have to be considered minorities anymore. So we sincerely hope this is only the beginning.
However, this does not change the fact that this initiative is still a huge step forward when it comes to women’s rights and the professional work scene in Egypt.