Australian Women's Shed Community & National Women's Shed Week
National Women's Shed Week
2022 had the inaugural National Women's Shed Week. Timed to coincide with International Women's Day and Queensland Women's Week, the aim was to highlight the breadth and variety of Women's Sheds around Australia. We got great publicity even getting a mention in National Parliament by the Federal Member for Fairfax, Ted O'Brien.
National Shed Week 2023 is 4th March to 12th March, again coinciding with International Women's Day on 8th March.
Ted O'Brien, Federal Member for Fairfax announcing the National Women's Shed Week in Parliament:
The main differences between Women's Sheds and Men's Sheds:
Many of us do not already have traditional construction and tools skills - this presents a challenge both in terms of the construction process of a shed, and in teaching these skills to other women.
Women's sheds tend to have members from all life stages
Structures and set up of Women's Sheds vary, based on the approach of their members.
What we have in common with Men's Sheds:
We value and respect the concept of a gendered space
We believe that membership of a shed improves the health and wellbeing of members through building connections, reducing isolation, encouraging the development of new skills and working as part of a team for a shared vision.
Current issues facing Women's Sheds:
Many women's sheds fail to get off the ground due to difficulties finding a space suitable for storing and using equipment and navigating legal requirements.
Women's sheds are not eligible for funding under the National Shed Development Programme, which provides around $1 million each year to help Men's Sheds buy equipment, improve their sheds and fund health and wellbeing events.
There is currently no National Association advocating for funding and support of women's sheds.
Women's Sheds are not able to seek funding or space under Sports & Recreation programmes, as our activities are not considered 'recreation'.
Women's Sheds face challenges seeking funding or space under Arts funding as we focus on encouraging participation in a wide range of recreational activities, rather than artistic excellence.
A place to ask questions about the establishment and operation of Women's Sheds
Access to shared resources, templates etc
A place to celebrate and share unique approaches and ideas for Women's Sheds
If you are starting from scratch, the best way to gauge interest is to create a Facebook page, and start sharing it. More help can be found in the Facebook Group.
More info on Australian Women's Sheds: Professor Barry Golding has been instrumental in the development of the Men's Shed movement and has been bringing together a database listing 56 Active Women's Sheds in Australia, updated in 2021. The website also provides information on the development of Women's Sheds in Australia and Internationally.
Dr Golding mentions the need for more research into the benefits of women's sheds and Tanya Smart published research into the Coolum Women's Shed, which highlighted the sense of belonging and improved health and wellbeing associated with membership.
Most activities are run from the Coolum Men's Shed Community Centre. 26 Research Street, Coolum 4573 QLD