All my life I have been told:
“Girls don’t go camping.”
“Girls don’t hunt.”
“Girls don’t play football.”
I live in a small country town with a big Italian community. My family does tomato sauce and has salami weekends.
Everyone knows everyone, but the town is kind of stuck in old ways. Most of the clubs are run by older people and most girls leave Myrtleford to work.
I’ve always dreamt of working in design or construction when I finish school.
But around here, the boys do that stuff.
Well, up until now.
I signed up to do a certificate in building and construction. I am the only girl in the class and I’m a year younger than the boys because no-one else in my year wanted to do it.
I like working with my hands.
Dad’s a very traditional Italian man. I want to tell him that girls can do anything a guy can do, even if they do it in a different way.
But I have to show him instead.
Dad is a local cabinetmaker. He installs kitchens and he’s always told me that girls don’t do this.
But in quarantine I started going with him because he needed the help, maybe that’s changed him.
He could see I was capable of doing the work. I lifted all the heavy materials and got on with it.
Dad was surprised I could read a tape measure — not because I was dyslexic but because I was a girl.
We had to do five units when I started with him, putting in kitchens, laundries, cupboards, and vanities and things. When Dad said “good job” it made me feel good that he’d realised what I could do.
It is hard being told all the time “girls can’t do that”. Stereotypes get tiring.
I’m meant to get married, have a big family, and find ‘the one’ by the time I’m 18. That’s one option.
You’ve got to do what you want to do. Who cares what people say.
Girls can do it, no matter what.
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