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Business News of Friday, 18 February 2022


BizTech: Women in carpentry - The story of Sarah Nyarko

A photo of 30-year-old Sarah Nyarko play videoA photo of 30-year-old Sarah Nyarko

The phenomenon of sex segregation in the labour market continues to exist in many growing economies in West Africa and other parts of Africa.

This sex-based traditional occupational system of the economic sector which is deeply rooted in the beliefs systems of the people creates a gender division of labour and continues to define gender relationships among people in the society.

In Ghana, for instance, baking of bread, dressmaking, trading in vegetables, cooking utensils and other household items as well as food vending are traditionally the preserve of women.

However, some women in recent times have tried to overcome occupational segregation by venturing into occupations that are considered unfamiliar territories and traditionally dominated by men.

One such lady is Miss Sarah Nyarko, a 30-year-old lady who has taken up an apprenticeship in carpentry at the Big Osei Furniture Works in Atebubu in the Bono East Region.

Sarah who is the first lady to venture into carpentry in Atebubu is bent on pursuing her dream of becoming a professional carpenter irrespective of the gender gap and other challenges.

According to her, even though she initially trained as a fashion designer, she along the line developed an interest in carpentry after she started sewing for the carpentry shop.

“I trained as a fashion designer so I was engaged to be sewing for the shop but at a point, I decided to venture into carpentry after I developed the interest”.


In an interaction with GhanaWeb, Sarah indicated that her decision was initially received with some mixed feelings from the public, friends, and some family members but she persevered.

She revealed that a year on, she has no regrets taking that singular decision to pursue a vocation in carpentry because many people have now come to accept and respect her decision.

“My decision was initially received with some reservations looking at the fact that no lady is in that field in this area but those distractions did not discourage me from pursuing my dream and passion. I have been doing it for a year now and I must admit, I am happy that I made that decision,” She said.

Aside from that, she disclosed that she has not been able to purchase her own tools needed to help her realise her dream of becoming a professional carpenter due to financial challenges.

Relationship with male counterparts

Despite belonging to the opposite gender, Sarah has a cordial, playful, respectful, and working relationship with all her male counterparts at the workplace as they work as a team and do almost everything together. The male colleagues see her as their “big sister”.

Coping with the job

Mr. Jacob Osei, Sarah’s master describes her as a fast learner, someone who pays attention to details, and one of the best apprentices he has trained in his thirty years old career in carpentry.

He revealed that Sarah’s story is an indication that gender is not a hindrance when it comes to learning a particular job and urged other ladies to emulate Sarah as he is ready to train them at no fee at all.

“I have been a master for almost thirty years and Sarah’s story is one that should inspire every lady who is interested in learning carpentry. I have trained so many people all of them men but I can tell you she is one of the best I have trained. She has proven that ladies are capable of doing everything so my doors are open to training any lady free of charge”.

Prospect for the future

She is optimistic about establishing her own carpentry shop in the future to be financially independent and to train other ladies who share similar dreams as well in order to equip them with the needed skills to be self-employed.