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?