Saudi woman defies stereotypes, works as handywoman

A Saudi woman carrying a bag of woodwork and plumbing equipment, hammers and saws to repair doors and install windpipes in her house has become a norm in Saudi Arabia, all because of Maha al-Joman.

The 30-year-old found her passion for home repairs, and even began holding training classes for women teaching them how to repair bathroom and kitchen piping, as well as carpentry to help them break many community barriers.

Al-Joman, who originally studied nutrition, had a passion for handy work since she was a child. She began fixing pieces of furniture and wooden doors in her house which increased her skillset and motivated her into turning her hobby into a career.

However, Al-Joman said that she faced several challenges, and societal pressure disapproving of her choice to work in what is widely known as a job for men.

Al-Joman said she had to overcome the “culture of shame” and criticisms in her conservative society. She added that her work found a solution to a big issue within Saudi families, which is that male plumbers and carpenters are not allowed to enter a house without a male member of the family being present.

Al-Joman spends several hours in the day in her home workshop that is filled with equipment, wood and other tools.

Al-Joman gives handy work classes at schools, and even does videos on Snapchat showing her followers how to repair different things to empower other women and girls to break barriers.



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