In 1977, Kate Braid began work in construction, one of the first women to stumble (literally) into the profession. Since then, Feminism, the MeToo movement, pay equity legislation and other efforts have led to more women in a wider variety of careers. Yet, the number of women in blue collar trades has barely shifted--from three percent to a mere four.
In her memoir, JOURNEYWOMAN, published in 2012, Braid told her personal story of working almost exclusively with men as a labourer, apprentice and red seal journey carpenter, then as a building contractor. In HAMMER & NAIL: NOTES OF A JOURNEYWOMAN, Braid returns to the trades with courage, compassion, and humour, recalling the intensity of days spent with an all-male construction crew and being the first woman they?d ever worked with.
Through stories, articles and speeches, HAMMER & NAIL looks at her lifetime of experiences in construction as well as an educator and writer, to shed new light on our ideas of traditional gender roles--and how those ideas change in the small but profound moments of gentleness, strength, humility and clarity. Braid interconnects tales of pounding the pavement for jobs with the thrill of realizing her own skill and capabilities, while scrutinizing the history and culture of labour. HAMMER & NAIL is a thought-provoking collection of the highs and lows, the laughs, the heartaches and some of the lessons of her journey.
Kate Braid has written, co-written, edited and co-edited fifteen books of non-fiction and prize-winning poetry that have been translated into Japanese, Spanish and French. Her most recent poetry books are ELEMENTAL, about the five elements including wood, and IN FINE FORM, the ground-breaking anthology of Canadian form poetry, co-edited with Sandy Shreve. After fifteen years as an apprentice, carpenter, contractor and construction instructor, and twelve years as a creative writing instructor, she now divides her time between Victoria and Pender Island, BC.