Kate Braid

From the blog

Journeywoman: Swinging a Hammer in a Man’s World


“Since women started working in the trades in the 1970s, very little has been published about their experiences. In this provocative and important book, Kate Braid tells the story of how she learned the carpentry trade in the face of skepticism and discouragement.

She was one of the first qualified women carpenters in British Columbia, the first woman to join the Vancouver local of the Carpenters’ Union, the first to teach construction full-time at the BC Institute of Technology and one of the first women to run her own construction company. Though she loved the work, it was not an easy career choice but slowly she carved a role for herself, asking first herself, then those who would challenge her, why shouldn’t a woman be a carpenter?

Told with humour, compassion and courage, Journeywoman is the true story of a groundbreaking woman finding success in a male-dominated field.”

See what reviewers and readers have to say about Journeywoman: Swinging a Hammer in a Man’s World.

Book Details

Book Title:  Journeywoman: Swinging a Hammer in a Man's World

Book Type:  Prose memoir

Published:  October 2012

ISBN:  13:978-1-894759-87-8 and ISBN: 10: 1-894759-87-7

In Print?:  Yes

Available From:   Your local bookstore

Description:  As one of the first women to hold a construction carpenter's Red Seal ticket in Canada, Kate worked for fifteen years at a trade she loved, while trying to fit in to - and figure out - the male culture she'd walked into, all unknowing.


Comparable to the best of literary autobiographies – at times reminiscent of Gore Vidal’s wonderful Palimpsest; also of Lillian Hellman’s Scoundrel Time – Journeywoman entices with wit and humanity. It is a saga of bold venture, spiritual search and redemption through sheer personal courage.
- Vancouver Sun

Journeywoman should be in every tradeswoman’s tool library because it’s more than a book. It’s a pickup truck full of the fire, muscle and passion of a woman who’s not afraid to bare her soul and her private life just as forcefully and true as her hammer strikes. Kate is no visitor to life or construction sites. She documents both with brave humor, love, energy and enthusiasm. I didn’t want this book to end.
- Pride and a Paycheck, tradeswomen's newsletter

Kate Braid's memoir is beautifully written, with the lilt of poetry and the rich descriptiveness of a novel.
- Literary Review of Canada

Kudos to Caitlin Pres for publishing this memoir of a woman at work, using her mind and body to forge independence in a man's world…. Journeywoman is neither a polemic nor a how-to. It's an honest, detailed, and engaging recollection of what it was like to be young, broke, and willing to work hard to get ahead.
- Room

Earthy and elegant, a memoir that reads like a novel
- Amazon.com customer review

Anyone who’s strapped a toolbelt across their hips for work will find resonance in these lush details of craft and emotion… Kate Braid’s engaging accounts about local union politics, tramping in the Yukon back country, and running her own contracting business are a welcome addition to the literature of women who opened career paths in occupations that had been reserved for men.
- Susan Eisenberg, electrician, author, We'll Call You If We Need You: Experiences of Women Working Construction

Journeywoman ...is a cracking good read, full of wry observations on the trades and the politics of being female in a line of work where our particular gender is still at a disadvantage, decades later... But it's not necessary to know how to use a carpenter's square to get this book. Anyone who has ever been told 'Sorry, Girls,' will find herself nodding, wincing, worrying and cheering Braid on.
- Story Circle Book Reviews -- reviewing books by, for, and about women

This recently published memoir is deeply personal and honest, and Braid shares the ambivalence that is her constant companion as a woman working in a “non-traditional field.”
- Guts (Canadian Feminist Magazine) http://gutsmagazine.ca/2564/laying-the-foundation/