Cover page Preface Introduction Context Feminism Feminist Research Housing and Feminism Self Build Housing Method Sample Process Analysis Case Studies Marion Pam May Carol Jan K Tashe Findings Personal Background Community Training and Technical Land Policies Institutional Support Shelter and Service Planning and Design Building Materials Conclusions Summary Recommendations Research
A"...major learning for me out of the experience of building my own space was the realisation and growing practice of being able to do whatever I wanted to do and that I need not be restricted by my own or others perceptions of what women can't do - or supposedly shouldn't do".
Prior to building her house Jan jointly owned a house with another person. She said, " It wasn't so much owning my own home that was significant so much as having a space of my own. Jan recognised that self build was a cheaper option than buying a house; the self build option gave her a 100% equity in the house.
Jan said, "I didn't wish to get into debt beyond $1000 so I built modestly, used recycled windows and doors and built in two stages". When stage one, shell, floor, roof and external walls were complete she moved in and completed stage two, the internal walls, cupboards and finishings.
Jan decided to build the house one month before she started work on it in September 1978. She completed the house in September 1979. The whole process took no longer than she thought. "I gave myself twelve months and I paced myself to achieve my goal." This was not the case with the day to day work however. "Most sections took three times longer than I'd initially imagine -I learned to times three quickly!"
Jan set her own time frame of twelve months. "I had two small kids, twelve months and two years old, and I only had three days child free time per week (7 am - 5 pm), by negotiation with their father."
In Jan's case time constraints called for stringent planning. "I built three days a week for twelve months. Day one: Begin a segment and prepare for day two. Day two: When necessary use friends' help for maybe two hours. Day three: Complete segment and plan for next step. As I became more confident and competent with tools the process became more efficient. Summer heat saw me start building very early and take an hour of mid day. Winter was pleasant -[working from] light till dark days"
This is how Jan described her average day working on the house.
"7 or 7:30
Being a self builder has had an impact on Jan's income in the long term as she went on to teach building and other courses to women. "The actual process of creating a structure is still a process that I love. Conception of visual spaces that actually meet real human needs as distinct from creating environments that we then have to learn how to behave in. I believe that we need to look at the political and personal implications of all structures and environments that we help to shape."
"I'd say that premises about what women supposedly shouldn't be interested in or shouldn't do pervade our societies and haven't radically altered in recent times. Inherent in these are the accompanying attitudes that follow these faulty premises. [For example] that women should continue to be involved in actions \ pursuits that aren't supposed to be the domain of men. This restricts us in not being able to participate in areas of our choice, and if we do choose to act outside of our societaly set roles we run the risk of doing standard women's activity plus any additional activity we undertake.
We find very few female-male work or domestic relationships where there is true equality occurring, and our architectural decisions are often heavily responsible for this situation. The restrictions that women are subjected to 'by society' are characterised by, and further entrenched by the environments that we shapers create."