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Feminist Research
Housing and Feminism
Self Build Housing


	Case Studies

Personal Background
Training and Technical
Land Policies
Institutional Support
Shelter and Service
Planning and Design
Building Materials

Case Studies of Women's Self Build Housing

Institutional and Organisational Structures
The respondents were asked about their contact with local government employees during the planning stages. Only one of these women was prepared to give unqualified praise to her local council and two others had no contact with local government employees. The reasons for dissatisfaction were listed as, contact people were "obstructive and unhelpful" and "a bit stroppy"; one woman said that her council "took a long time for approval, and gave petty excuses for not granting it straight away" while another said, "they weren't helpful so we ignored them".

In the process of building their home four of the women had dealings with local councils, government departments or statutory bodies that were new to them, or dealt with them in a new way. Three of the four described their experiences as positive. Three of these women were involved in state housing authority programs. The fourth woman detailed the following problems with officials.

"The state housing authority didn't make allowances for logical delays such as the weather or inflation. The Council inspectors were abrupt and non friendly and seemed to be playing power games, some men seem to enjoy intimidating women."

Two of these women felt that being a woman they were treated a certain way. There are some strong similarities in the way these women felt about the way their technical knowledge was called into question by authorities.

"Every time any woman steps out in a technical field and takes a strong stance she is treated different than if she was a male, we still have to prove our credibility, you have to prove your better than the best."

"I had to really convince the state housing authority I could do it, I felt that as a woman this aspect was given extra scrutiny."

Two of the respondents said that they found the officials supportive with one proviso that "you get the odd one that thinks females can't do anything, but you get them everywhere". One woman said that she thought the officials were as supportive as a "person in their organisations" could be. There is some implication in this statement of the recognition that being supportive is perhaps not the intention of such organisations. The only other statement about contact with state and council employees came from one of the women on a state program who said that the state housing authority inspector "seemed to think pressure would make me perform better but I think encouragement works best".

Questions about support from financiers were relevant to four of the builders. These women had a range of experiences from getting incredible support to none at all. One said,

"Banks not really interested in loaning to a bunch of women! They wanted an enormous amount of surety. The vendors were more helpful."