Interested in learning how to do a few handy things around your home? Home Depot, like some other retailers, offers free workshops to customers. In fact, it offers three types of workshops: The generic “Do-It-Yourself” classes, kid-friendly tutorials, and then “Do-It-Herself,” a category that has some wondering what a customer’s gender has to do with DIY home repair.
Consumerist reader Renate brought this to our attention after she used the Home Depot app to check out the workshops offered in her area.
She says the idea of separate classes for just women made her “really disgusted,” especially because Home Depot had become her favorite store since buying a fixer-upper — “bought all by my lonesome, too, imagine that!”
While the general DIY workshops on the app show classes like “Interior Paint & Drywall Repair,” “Installing Tile Backsplash,” “Installing a Vanity,” and “Build a Storage Bench,” the females-only listing has one lonely offering: “Build a Beverage Crate.”
Though workshop options might vary by your location, the same sessions are available on Home Depot’s website for us when we checked.
“With just a few tools and a little know-how, you can build a beautiful wood beverage crate,” the description reads. “We teach you to properly measure, use a jigsaw to make grid cuts, and customize with paints and stains.”
To critics of the Do-It-Herself concept, phrases like “just a little know-how” and describing the crate as “beautiful” is more than a little condescending, especially since the generic DIY tutorials don’t go on about “gorgeous” backsplashes or “lovely” drywall.
“What century are we in now?” asks Renate, who contends that Home Depot is perpetuating gender stereotypes by offering the different workshops. “And evidently women are only capable of building beverage crates, nothing truly practical like changing a faucet or repairing drywall for us delicate females!”
It’s worth noting that these workshops are nothing new. Earlier this year, Death & Taxes referenced a Tweet from a customer who was confounded by the “Herself” workshops. At the time, the DIH class being offered was all about stocking hangers:
Given the criticism — and the fact that there are millions of women in America doing serious DIY repair projects every day — we asked Home Depot about the separate designations for women and other DIYers.
A rep for the retailer told Consumerist that the workshops have been around since 2003 and that they have been popular. After a few initial clinics held in the aisle of Home Depot stores, customers started to request formal clinics, the spokesman explained, “and females expressed interest in having their own clinics.”
As for the topics, the spokesman said they’re chosen based on surveys conducted after workshops.
“These workshops have been around for many years and have had thousands of participants,” explains the rep. “Some groups even do them as parties from time to time. In fact, they became so popular that we eventually formalized them as a regular part of our workshop curriculum, as you see them listed online today. And like the other workshops, they cover a wide range of projects throughout the year.”