Women Build Week, a joint effort by Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s, is happening May 5-13.

Girl Power

Women Build Week, a joint effort by Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s, is happening May 5-13.

  • http://www.builderonline.com/Images/1910263349_byJessicaMcGowan_tcm138-1227476.jpg?width=1500

    true

    1500

    Jessica McGowan

    CHARLOTTE, NC - Lowe's employee Lenora Stoner (left) and Bank of America employee Brenda Suits work on a wall during the Habitat for Humanity Women Build in Charlotte, NC on May 5, 2011. Celebrity on-site building is actress Emily Bergl. (Photo by Jessica McGowan)

  • http://www.builderonline.com/Images/519293877_BrendaSuitsinHaiti-EzraMillstein_tcm138-1227475.jpg?width=1500

    true

    1500

    Ezra Millstein

    LEOGANE, HAITI (11/9/11)-Brenda Suits, from Cornelius, North Carolina, works with Women Build to construct a new Habitat home at the 2011 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. © Habitat for Humanity International/Ezra Millstein

  • http://www.builderonline.com/Images/839898879_Christa%20RayJoanna%20Ball-JessicaMcGowan_tcm138-1227477.jpg?width=1500

    true

    1500

    Jessica McGowan

    CHARLOTTE, NC - Christa Ray with AmeriCorps and Joanna Ball with Habitat for Humanity Charlotte work on the roof structure of a home during the Habitat for Humanity Women Build in Charlotte, NC on May 5, 2011. Celebrity on-site building is actress Emily Bergl. (Photo by Jessica McGowan)

  • http://www.builderonline.com/Images/472278191_InCharlotteNC-JessicaMcGowan_tcm138-1227478.jpg?width=1800

    true

    1800

    Jessica McGowan

    CHARLOTTE, NC - Mary Bumgardner works on the roof structure of a home during the Habitat for Humanity Women Build in Charlotte, NC on May 5, 2011. Celebrity on-site building is actress Emily Bergl. (Photo by Jessica McGowan)

  • http://www.builderonline.com/Images/898357048_Tacoma-SteffanHacker_tcm138-1227479.jpg?width=1500

    true

    1500

    Steffan Hacker

    TACOMA, WASHINGTON, USA (7/23/2010)--- Group photo of Women Build volunteers led by longtime Tacoma-Pierce County Habitat volunteer Alison Paradise (far left.) ---©Habitat for Humanity/Steffan Hacker

Habitat for Humanity reports that in 2011, more than 70% of the houses it built were constructed in partnership with family households headed by women. In response to this striking statistic—and the sobering fact that one in six American kids now lives in poverty—Habitat spearheaded Women Build, an effort that brings together civic-minded women and those who want to improve their basic home-building skills.

Women Build, the brainchild of Habitat for Humanity and Lowe's, the program's underwriter, is now in its fifth year. This year, National Women Build Week will take place from May 5 to 13 (the week leading up to Mother's Day) at 275 job sites across all 50 states. “We see a lot of diversity,” says Lisa Marie Nickerson, associate director of Women Build at Habitat for Humanity International, who notes that projects range from remodels to new construction, from urban infill to rural lots, from repairs on existing homes to revitalization of neighborhoods.

Women Build works like this: During National Women Build Week, Lowe’s will run training clinics in their local stores for Women Build participants, who will then be able to report to a Habitat for Humanity Women Build site to voluntter for a day and help build a home for a family in need. It’s a win-win for anyone who cares about the affordable housing shortage in their community and who wants to become handier with a drill and spirit level.

This year, Habitat is making a special push to target women aged 18 to 24, but the spirit is an inclusive one. All are welcome on a job site, no matter what the skill level, says Nickerson. What’s more, though this is a push to empower women with basic construction skills, men are absolutely welcome. To volunteer with a local Women Build affiliate that could use your help, visit www.womenbuild.org.

Amy Albert is a senior editor at Builder.