Sunday, 30 May 2021

Women can fix trails too

 This afternoon on local trail-related Telegram group, a lady posted about an erosion situation on a well-used trail. The peat-soil trail seems to be a straight up/down, which exposes it to greater erosion. It does not have switchbacks and cross-drains, which she says would help to break the speed of runoff water when it rains. She asked for maintenance to be done on the trails.

Another lady posted to say that if a path fixing party is organised, that she will be there to assist. 

The first one then replies with:

"It is not the job for ladies. It is hard labour."

Well, of course I couldn't resist a reply to say:

"Trail fixing is definitely for ladies too! Women are perfectly able to use axes, saws, shovels and mallets."

Over the years I've created brand-new trails. I've wielded a petrol-powered bush cutter to cut trails, I've clipped overgrown vegetation and I've cleared rocks from the paths. With my Forest Run events in the Parys area, my friend Karen (a woman!) helped hugely with this too. 

One thing is for sure, women are good at hard labour.

Sure, I don't have the same power as a 110kg, 6'3" man, but that makes me no less able to put in the hard labour to fix trails just because I'm a woman. Really!

A few months ago I built a set of stairs in my back garden. The slope up to the lawn area was steep and uneven -  an access barrier to my mom.

I cleared a lot of the vegetation in the background too. I did get a gardener into assist with a chunk as I just didn't have the time to attend to all of it.

Last weekend, I carried cement precast slabs from the upper far-back of the garden to the front parking area - on my own - to shore up an embankment. This also involved shovelling loads of soil to clear the paving to make space for the slabs. 

The soil took up almost a meter of space on the paving in places and was almost 30cm deep on the back side. That was a lot of soil to shovel.

The thing about hard labour - it is rewarding. Rewarding to turn a nasty slope into a functional and more attractive stairway. Rewarding to deal with a paving/embankment issue that has driven me crazy since I moved in and to make it actually look neat and tidy. 

The thing about comments like "it is not the job for ladies" is that daughters are raised to buy into this drivel. Waiting for the man on the white horse to change the lightbulb, wire a plug or light a fire. This is the same type of mentality that said women couldn't be astronauts or doctors or pilots or crane drivers or business owners - anything other than the women's jobs of being seamstresses, nurses and secretaries. 

That's why I had to reply to that lady's comment. That noone else had said anything by the time I saw the message was equivalent to agreeing with her.

I've yet to see a post on the two groups that I am on to join a trail fixing crew, but I really am looking forward to the opportunity. Cutting in stairs and taming unruly vegetation are my specialities.

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