4 Things All Women Need to Know How to Do

I think independence and self sufficiency is a must for all women. And men, of course, but it saddens me to still see some women dependent on their significant others to do some things things that are, traditionally (though I hate gender roles), "male" tasks, jobs, or behaviours.

Here are a few things that I believe all women need to know how to do.

How to Change a Tire

Not only is it extremely expensive to get somebody out to your stranded car if you don't know how to change a tire; it can be dangerous. Having somebody pull over to help you can be extremely dangerous, especially if the road is not well lit or if it's not used frequently.

Changing a flat is a skill that every woman must know how to do, as we will all have a flat or two in our lifetime.

How to Negotiate with a Contractor/Tradesperson

This is one of my most hated tasks; negotiating with somebody who thinks I don't know what I'm talking about.

My boyfriend is a carpenter, and my dad sells building supplies. I know my stuff when it comes to housing, construction, and building materials, especially since I worked for my dad almost every summer since I was 12.

This is important on both sides of the equation; if I am working for my dad and negotiating a price with a contractor, or if you are a home owner negotiating a price with a contractor or tradesperson.

There are some pretty crappy people out there who will take advantage of people they do not perceive as smart or who doesn't know what they are doing. Unfortunately, some people have a penchant for preying on women because they think we can't hold our own.

You simply need to know how to protect yourself from these people taking advantage of you. If you don't know anything about the subject (say, your floor needs refinishing), then somebody is going to try to charge you way more than they are worth. Compare prices. Research. Learn the process. Show them you know what you're doing.

How to Negotiate in General

There is a lot of chatter about women not being paid as much as men in North America because of lack of negotiation on the part of women. I don't know if I believe this "excuse" for pay inequity; the truth is we live in a prejudice, unfair society and I'm sure negotiation is only one tiny piece of the problem (though it certainly contributes to the issue).

In any case, and this is something that I didn't even do with my new job, we should know how to negotiate in general.

I find it's a completely different ball field negotiating with somebody who is working for you, versus negotiating with somebody for whom you are working.

Negotiation skills - along with persuasion, since they go hand-in-hand - are very important skills that women need to be able to do.

How to Say No

Most (though certainly not all) of the women I know are extremely hard workers. That being said, I know that many of us feel guilty for saying we can't do something because we have too much on our plates.

Whether it's a friend asking us to do a favor that we don't have time to do, or a coworker dumping more work on our plates because they're going on vacation, it's extremely important to learn your limit and be able to politely say no if necessary.

As much as we want to be the hero, and we want to be reliable and helpful, taking on too much is a disservice to ourselves, our families, and our friends.

I'm just learning to say no when necessary. Every time I've had to, the people who are asking are gracious and they understand.

Do you struggle with any of these? Can you think of any other important things that women should know how to do?


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47 thoughts on “4 Things All Women Need to Know How to Do

  1. Definitely guilty!

    I reckon it's also excellent to know how to check/change oil, figure out your way around the switchbox/fusebox, and hook up a washing machine.

  2. The first one made me chuckle. The last time I got a flat, I was heading toward Miami and it felt like it was 100 degrees outside. I had to call my mom to have her walk me through the process of changing my tire. I would pump the jack a few times and then jump in my air conditioned car to get out of the heat. Then repeat. Fortunately, a stranger pulled over and changed my tire for me. He could've been insane, but all I was thinking about was how hot it was outside.

    Although perfectly within my capability, I still don't take my car to get an oil change. That's man's work! But seriously, I just really don't like it. 🙂

  3. Negotiation is a big one. This can help in so many areas in life.

    I think women (and men) should know how to set up a basic retirement account and contribute to it automatically each month. Everyone should take an active interest in his or her future.

  4. I don't know how to change a tire, but I'm a card carrying AAA member (and they will come do it for me ASAP). I'd like to learn, but FORTUNATELY I haven't had too many opportunities to do so.

    I think I'm a pretty good negotiator..my husband is in sales and is quite good at it at work, but he is BAD at it in personal life. I'm the one who negotiated our house price, auto prices, medical bills, contractors, etc. He likes to tell people that if they want to sell things/services to us, they need to go through me first and I'm a tough customer. I feel like I've come a long way in that area over the last few years.

    I also think women need to know how to manage money--from retirement to day to day expenses. I have a few friends that have absolutely no idea how they are doing financially because their husbands do it all because they "suck" at it and don't care to even learn basic skills.

    1. Two Degrees

      Find 30-minutes on a Sunday afternoon, and a friend and you're done! You have to make time for these things.

      I actually just learned on Friday. My job requires us to be on the road quite frequently, so it was perfect that we got trained on how to change a tire. I feel much more confident on the road now.

  5. Well said Daisy. I lived on my own for a number of years before I got married so I learned how to do many things. The ones you list are among them. I find that being able to look after yourself when need but also have the option to get help is the perfect balance.

  6. John @ Married (with Debt)

    I learned a new one this weekend - a woman should be able to brush off a come-on without involving her boyfriend/husband or otherwise getting him mad. I thought you guys were supposed to tell us each time you get an unwanted advance.

  7. Great list Daisy! It's definitely good for us women to know how to do things, so we're not always relying on a man.

    Checking the tire pressure and your engine and transmission oil in your car are also good for the ladies to know how to do.

  8. Now if women learn how to do all of this, how are us men supposed to feel needed? 😉
    I like being able to help my girlfriends with things like opening stubborn jars, changing tires, moving heavy things, etc.

  9. I theoretically know how to change a tire, but every time it happens I find myself calling a buddy after the first couple of tries. I have no upper body strength to get those lugnuts off.

    Saying no is such a huge thing, too. And learning how to say it GUILT-FREE.

  10. Anthony Thompson

    If you're a woman, it's OK to have a man whom you can rely on to do certain tasks once in awhile. However, I agree that women should know how to do many of the so-called male-dominated tasks like changing a tire and negotiating.

    It seems the many women feel that these tasks are beneath them, and thus won't at least try to learn how to do them. Knowing how to do these types of tasks are empowering, and will make them feel more independent.

  11. My wife HATES negotiating and definitely wouldn't haggle. She just accepts things as they are...and it doesn't matter if she's "negotiating" salary or a price to do work on something.

    It's pretty funny but she just doesn't like the confrontation.

  12. The Happy Homeowner

    Bah...epic fail on the tire changing bit. BUT, I have made tremendous progress with the others! I'm a proud negotiator in most areas by now. Contractors learned last summer (the hard way) not to mess with me...hahahaha

  13. Where is the 5th one? Or did I miss it? Lol! I definitely think the changing a tire is a must as well as negotiating and learning how to say no. I am always a "yes" person so it's been a challenge learning how to say no nicely. You'd be surprised at how "no" gives off a different vibe!

    I would also say a woman should know how to cook... whether it's for herself or her family. A lot of my girlfriends don't know how to cook, it's kinda sad. But it's the new reality.

  14. I like the negotiating tips the best. There are still so many men out there that think they can out-smart a girl when it comes to building materials, cars, or anything else. It’s impressive when a lady who knows her stuff gives them a run for their money!

  15. Brian

    The only thing I would add to the list is the following:

    Shuting off the utilities coming into the house (water/gas/eletric). I know this seems easy, and it is, but knowing where to go and what to do can be very important.

    My friends had a water pipe break in their house and if his wife hadn't known where and how to turn off the water, the damage would have been much worse.

  16. HowToDo

    Wow!Great list of things that one must be able to do or have in life. It is not hard to decipher everything right, but people do not wish to leave their comfort zones to really learn. It is a nice compilation and crisply told.I’m going to dive into these and learn a few things! Isn’t it funny how using Google effectively is included today with things like building a fire, cooking, and holding a baby? I rely on Google daily so it is a must. Great post!

  17. I have no idea how to change a tire (maybe I could figure it out? ha!) or change my oil or anything to do with my car. If we break down and it's just me and the kids...we're screwed!! I definitely need to work on that.
    And I know how to say no...but it's usually followed by "...if that's okay?"

  18. Katie

    I definitely need to work on saying no. I hate telling people no, I feel like I need to be everything to everybody.

    I do think I can negotiate if need be.

  19. Regarding changing a tire ladies. Oftentimes the lug nuts are on very tight. A trick that a mechanic taught me was as follows. Put the lug nut wrench on the lug nut. Then stand on the end of the lug nut wrench opposite of where the lug nut is - you might even have to jump up and down a bit to get it loosened. This creates much more torque on the lug nut than you can create by trying to do the same with your hand.

  20. Great post, though I'm ashamed to say I've never changed a tire. To be fair I only had a car of my own for about a year. Negotiating is a definite important thing to note. I regret not negotiating at all when accepting my current job, but I've definitely learned my lesson for the future.

  21. Nice list. Here in the US (maybe in Canada too?) getting AAA can be a huge help for car issues. I think it's worth the investment.

    I do think that learning how to say "No" is a big deal. This applies to women and men. As a guy, I think that I have been too accommodating to some folks in the past, wanting to please or make someone happy, etc. I've learned, finally, to be able to say No and feel very comfortable to do so.

  22. Love this article and yes, I regularly have people think I'm a dumb woman when it comes to negotiating things. I always start off every quote request with the fact that I will be sending out this bid to multiple contractors..that usually quashes any price gouging on the front end. I also have had someone try to charge me double the quoted cost at the end of a job, so you have to protect yourself in writing as well that the bill won't exceed the quote by some percentage. That one I learned the hard way.

  23. I agree with all your points. I definitely need to learn how to negotiate. They smell my fear and use that as leverage all the time!!
    One thing I will always tell my daughters to be able to do is support themselves financially. Whatever way works for them is fine, but don't rely on anyone to take care of you. Seems fitting for your personal finance topic.

  24. I have two little girls at home (and a boy) and we're trying to raise them to be as independent as possible. I don't want them to have to rely on someone else to do everything for them, so whenever I do things around the house I try to include them so they can see what I'm doing and learn a little bit.

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  26. MyCanadianFinances

    I think these skills are important not just for women, but for men as well.

    I know many men who cannot do any of these.

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  35. I'm not a woman, but I struggle with saying no sometimes. I also struggle with forgiving friends who ask me for money, give me their word, then refuse to pay me back..

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