Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Ten things I can do because my dad taught me how (even though I am a girl)

Imagine me with a beard….and a bit more grey

Every time I feel proud of myself, I thank my dad

My dad had a lot of great qualities. He lived in a house with three women (my mom, my sister, and me) and he just quietly accepted the way things were. He never questioned the things we did or how we did them. Whatever we did, he just took it as read that that was what women were supposed to do.

He never ever gave me one inkling that he thought women should do this or that, or be this or that. He just simply let us be.

In that same vein, he never thought that because we were women we shouldn’t do or be anything, either.

These are just a few of the things that I can do because my dad either taught me outright, or simply gave me the confidence and encouragement to have a go:

  • I can maintain and repair my own car. I can even replace the brakes and change the oil.
  • I can safely clean, carry, load, unload, and shot a gun. All kinds of guns. From little bitty ones to great big ones.
  • I can put a worm or a cricket on a hook and I can catch a fish (though I really don’t want to).
  • I can rig up just about anything in a pinch. If you find yourself on a deserted island, I am the Heath Robinson or MacGyver you want to have there with you.
  • I can use any power tool you give me. And I will take care of them properly and put them away where they belong.
  • I can build things out of wood. I can put up shelves and put together flat pack furniture.
  • I can at least try to repair anything that’s not working properly. I will even manage to fix some of them.
  • I will attempt any kind of DIY until I realise I need to call in a professional- reluctantly, and grumpily. I can install and repair plumbing. I can build a brick wall.
  • I can organise the crap out of anything, especially the shed and the garage! And enjoy doing it…
  • I can play music by ear, and taught myself to play the piano (he taught himself the guitar).

Not everything my dad taught me is about “manly” get-yer-hands-dirty-stuff. He taught me to love and be kind to animals. He taught me the importance of having laughter in the house. He taught me about unconditional love. He taught me how to make the best spaghetti sauce in the world.

My dad and I were so much alike it was funny. Not only do we look a lot alike (you can see for yourself), but our temperament and senses of humour are uncannily similar. We are both pretty laid back, until suddenly we are not. Our temper will scare anyone within shouting distance, though we are able to hold it in for a good long while.

Though he died much too young over ten years ago, and I have lived most of my adult life across an ocean, I catch myself doing things that I instantly recognise as ‘Dad’ almost every day. From obsessively placing the groceries on the belt at the checkout in a very logical order by weight, size, and squashability to erupting in colourful language when I encounter a bad driver, the characteristics that I share with my dad seem to be infused into my DNA.

One of those things just happens to be the inability to see limitations for myself just because I am a woman. Thank you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

I write about how I became the founder of a tech startup as a non-techie, over-40 female with no entrepreneurial experience, and all I am learning along the way. You can see more here: If you think this might be helpful for others on their entrepreneurial journey, please recommend and share by clicking the heart.