A Woman’s Work: 10 Things Every Woman Should Know How To Do

May 26, 2012  |  
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I remember as a young girl watching my great grandmother do so many things around the house. She’d cook, clean, sew and iron. She always seemed busy doing what my Poppop called “women’s work.” I thought to myself, “There has to be more to being a woman than knowing how to do domestic things” – but have times changed that much from when I was a child? While traditionally there are some tasks that are gender specific, I can’t help but think women nowadays are forging their own traditions with a “roll-up-your-sleeves and get-the-job-done” type of attitude. Yes, you should be able to cook a great meal, keep your house clean enough to keep the vermin away and iron your clothes well enough to be presentable at work. That’s a given. But we can do better than that in 2012.

Here are 10 things I think all women should know how to do – we go to work!


1. Change a Light Bulb

Okay, so this may seem silly, but you’d be surprised how many women cannot perform basic household repairs. A woman should have a basic tool set, a drill, a hammer and a wrench – and learn how to use them safely and properly. There is no reason you should have to call your landlord or your boyfriend to come over to hang a picture, change your air conditioner filter or make minor fixes like touching up paint. They even have tool sets made just for women – in the color pink! Take a free class at your local Home Depot or Lowes home improvement store and learn to hook your own crib up!


2. Change a Tire

Along the same lines of learning to use basic household tools, you should be equally as savvy when it comes to maintaining your car. Keep a jack, jumper cables, a flashlight, flares…and of course a spare tire in your car at all times. Learn how to safely pull over and change a tire so that you’ll never be stranded or waiting forever for AAA to show up. While we’re at it, you might as well learn how to check and change your oil, check your lights and change bulbs and how to jump a car in case your battery dies on you. Nothing is sexier than a girl under the hood!


3. Drive

Now, if you’re learning how to change a tire, it probably goes without saying that you should know how to drive. Most people who live in major cities with an advanced transit system either never learn how to drive, or learn very late in comparison to those who live in cities where a car is necessary to get around. If Driver’s Education wasn’t required in your high school, go take some lessons and learn to drive – preferably a stick shift as well as an automatic. Not only is it helpful in case you want to rent a car, it’ll also ensure that you can get you and others home safely in case you need to be a designated driver. It doesn’t hurt to learn how to read a map either.


4. Balance a Checkbook

Hopefully, you have a bank account and are making regular deposits. If not – get on it! But once you have an account, it’s crucial that you keep track of your withdrawals, including the funds you swipe on your debit card. Most people are aware of the bills they pay, but forget about that latte at Starbucks or that lunch they “charged” on their debit card. If it comes out of your bank account, keep a record of it in a register. Set up an online account so that you can check it every couple of days to make sure there are no expenses you forgot to deduct and that your balance is correct. This way, you’ll never incur overdraft fees and you’ll see where all your money is going. And start saving!


5. Order a Credit Report

The same way you need to keep track of your finances, you should also be aware of what is on your credit report. Even if you pay your bills on time, it’s important to check your report at least once every six months to make sure there is no incorrect information on it that would affect your credit score. You can order a free credit report once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com – and you can pay as little as $8 to obtain your credit score per credit agency. Your credit score will determine if you get a loan – or your interest rate on a loan – should you want to buy a house or a car. Since your credit is your currency in this economy, it’s important to stay on top of it more than ever!


6. Do Your Taxes

Preparing a basic 1040 EZ tax form should keep you out of trouble with Uncle Sam. If you can afford to pay a professional to do your taxes, then by all means, do so. I find that they know more than the average person about tax laws, itemizing deductions and how to get a bigger refund. But if you have one job, no deductions or dependents and don’t own a home, your taxes should be pretty simply to do – so there’s no excuse for not doing your taxes, or doing them on time. Take a lesson from Wesley Snipes – save yourself the headache and pay your taxes!


7. Speak a Foreign Language

If you were never required to take a foreign language in school, or never elected to take one, you should learn at least ONE foreign language in your lifetime. Within our multicultural nation, it’s inevitable that you’ll run into someone who speaks Spanish, French or Chinese. And if you like to travel, it’s helpful – ESSENTIAL even – that you learn how to ask for help, directions or how to order a meal should you find yourself in a country where English is not the native language. You never know, knowing the basics of another language might help you in a crucial situation. And besides, it’s really just cool to be able to communicate with someone in their native tongue.


8. Swim

I’m always amazed at how many adults I run into who tell me they don’t know how to swim. I understand some people have a fear of water, which is usually the reason why most folks drown when they fall in water. They panic. Taking swimming lessons will give you the skills and confidence you need to stay calm and save yourself should you fall into a lake. Some of you may say that you never plan to be in water, therefore you don’t need to learn to swim – but you never know what situation you might find yourself in where you’ll need to save your own life, or the life of someone you love. You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer like Michael Phelps, you just need to know how NOT to drown.



9. CPR

Once you learn to swim, and possibly rescue someone from drowning, you should know how to resuscitate them if necessary – especially if you have children. If you see someone choking in a restaurant or losing their breath, performing CPR could literally mean life or death. Your local YMCA should offer free lessons; or Google lessons in your area and take advantage if you can. It takes so little time to learn how to possibly save a life.


10. Self Defense

Speaking of saving lives, you should be able to save your own. Women often fall victim to muggers and rapists because we look like easy prey. But we’re strong enough to know how to breathe, yell, kick, scream and fight back if we’re attacked – and smart enough to know when NOT to put ourselves in harm’s way, or do something to escalate the situation. Take a self- defense class and learn 3 signature moves that will help fend off an attacker. Also, learn how to use verbal resistance and smart, non-physical ways to deal with an attacker. All women, no matter their size or physical strength, should know how to defend themselves.

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  • janthonyrose

    d*ck breath? wow….you’d know, since you have d*ck breath with your filthy mouth. And clearly YOU ARE thinking of me, otherwise you wouldn’t have responded – so I guess you really DON’T have a life.

  • lilkunta

    wrong. YMCA CHARGESfor cpr classes, they are not free.

  • Heather

    Women need to learn how to drive?!! Really?!! The majority of the time when I’m driving I’m being tailgated by a guy in a big truck or almost getting hit by some douche bag that’s in a hurry to probably get nowhere important. I have NOT been in one accident and I’ve been driving a very long time. DO NOT tell me women CANT drive. I’m LIVING PROOF!!

  • woman of my time

    I am highly perturbed, vexed, incensed, irritated, bothered, offended…& any other qualifier one can come up…with all these list dictating what a woman should or should not do. Most of which are intended for us to attract a man. As a strong educated & professional woman, who stands under the cloak of feminism, I do not need this list or any other to dictate my worth or the depth of my womanhood.

    • Shaundra

      My sentiments exactly!!!!

    • Courtney

      How does learning a language, CPR, how to swim and doing taxes help you get a man? You’re highly perturbed, vexed, incensed, irritated, bothered and offended for no reason. If you are strong and educated, you’d see this list is to help women for THEMSELVES, not to get a man. Get a clue.

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  • Changing a light bulb???? SERIOUSLY?????

  • ElvisWasAHero2Most

    Shhh ieeeet, I can’t do half of these things and I have both X and Y chromosomes.

  • Bre

    I like how you say learn to speak a foreign language like it’s something that you can just pick up at the grocery store. I had six years of a foreign language and it was a lot of work and I am nowhere near fluent in it. Not everyone can just pick up a language. A person would be beter of being able to speak and write properly in their native tongue.

    • Courtney

      I don’t think the author wants you to be fluent, just able to learn enough to get around and be self sufficient if need be. Speaking and writing in your native tongue should be achieved by 6th grade, so no real fete there. Foreign countries are running circles around us because they mandate their children start learning another language early on, why we make everyone “learn English.” We don’t aim high enough if you ask me – speaking and writing in your native tongue well is elementary to me – and if it’s not to most, it SHOULD be.

  • BR

    This list sucks. While most women are working hard in their careers, or doing it up at school, or balancing their children’s lives, some idiots are going to be taking this seriously learning how to drive and change light bulbs. What an insult.

  • BR

    This list sucks. While most women are working hard in their careers, or doing it up at school, or balancing their children’s lives, some idiots are going to be taking this seriously learning how to drive and change light bulbs. What an insult.

    • Courtney

      yeah, because learning how to drive is for “dummies.” Get a life. And if those were the only 2 things on the list, I can see why you’d be insulted…but give me a break. I think ALL people should be able to swim, know CPR (in case you had to SAVE one of your children whose lives your balancing), etc. And you’re an idiot if you’re working hard and doing it up in school and don’t know how to balance a checkbook or order your credit report.

  • Injynqbs

    Dangit I do not know CPR!..Something I’ve thought about but never done. Maybe I’ll take that w/ another swim class this summer… ;o lol

  • Korey

    What about ride a bike? I don’t know how to…

  • Mizzliyah9115

    YOU GUYS!!! She’s only giving the basics! I don’t think she needs to spell out every little tiny detail right?? RELAX!! This is meant to be an eye opener and make you think of how you can be more self sufficient instead of depending on anyone to do anything for you. (including AAA)

  • NikkitaMichelle

    I’m not trying to put us back 50 years, but why isn’t cook on this list?  You have swimming and lightbulb changing on this list, but a woman shouldn’t know how to feed herself and family at home? 

    •  maybe cause thats something that many would automatically think of when they first hear of ‘things they should know how to do…’ list pssh honestly im going to  watch a lot of cooking shows on how to make 30 min meals… *kanye shrug*

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  • Deja

    I don’t understand all the negative comments.  I don’t get the changing the light bulb, but all of the other ones only make you a better person.  

  • Akhnaton

    How about, “How to make love to your partner!” The tire thing I must enforce!


     I can do all (and drive a stick shift!) except balance a checkbook. I never use them anyway. I leave that to the old folks.  

  • pashunfruit

    this list is truly ridiculous….instead of learning how to change light bulb which EVERYONE should know how to do not just women, but how about sewing?!!?!? I’m not talking about making a dress & curtains but if there’s a hole in your sock can you sew it up?? How about English 101 knowing the difference between “your, you’re, there, they’re, their.”  And I’m tired of these list geared towards women as if we’re not trying to raise independent strong young men either….

    • Janthonyrose

      Clearly all of those who are mad at the “change a lightbulb” comment can’t or didn’t read the whole thing. The “change the lightbulb” comment meant household repairs – and if you read it, you’d all know that. Imbeciles.

      • pashunfruit

        no one’s mad….just stating opinions, come up w/ better list next time or matter of fact stop making them period because they’re stupid

        • Janthonyrose

          How about you give us your list then since this one was “stupid.”

          • pashunfruit

            yes I’m going to sit at my laptop & make up a list for you…..okay give me one second

            • janthonyrose

              still waiting.
              oh right…you CAN’T think of a better one. People want to criticize without offering something “better.”

              • side_i

                Ugh no d**k-breath I have life, after I responded to you once I never thought about you again until seeing in my spam folder a message from Disqus from you. When I find the time & energy to bicker w/ you & make a list to satisfy your pea brain I will, if I remember.

  • LaylaAjmine

    I still don’t know how to change a tire but everything else plus cook yep

  • Prettyadr22

    So why does this say WOMEN bc clearly y’all keep stating PEOPLE && NOT JUST WOMEN!

  • Bitterswtkizz

    A light bulb*blank stare* if you don’t know how to do this you clearly are parked on screws loose and required supervision. Then there are people that can change a light bulb but still cannot see the LIGHT! Now then, knock it off with these inane lists….stop limiting women with these labels. A woman can do scores of things as long as she’s willing. There are things that I just find swexy about a man…and changing a tire with his sleeves rolled up is one of them.

  • The Real Jane

    And – I would rather see these ten things:
    Manage your money across time (savings/investments/retirement)
    How to purchase a car (not just drive one) and not get taken
    How to purchase and KEEP/maintain a home/condo
    Cook and eat healthy meals
    Develop a plan to manage your health/weight as you age (easy when you are 20)
    Choose a partner properly (too much relationship drama – we do not know how to do this)
    Get a proper education and use it
    Stay off the pole and the stroll, and the drugs, and the drama
    How to start, grow and manage a business
    How BE married (not have a wedding)

    • AnnaX

      The list is OKAY to me. I just find that a list like @the real janes list would be more beneficial.

      Some of you have tunnel vision. You see one thing and focus on that. Like the author said, you may be surprised at how many people don’t know how to do simple things,, not because you know how to means everyone else does. After the lightbulb comment there are more home examples.

    • bishop

      I like that last one. A lot of women enjoy planning that wedding, but quite a few make terrible wives. Where things like pre-marrigage counseling, knowing how to keep a home, being loving and kind, money management and kids discussion are put on the back burner until way after the wedding.

      • lilkunta

        amen. ever since i heard the phrase ‘too many worry about getting married instead of having a marriage” i tell it to every1 and think of it when i see all those ads for crazy shows like bridezillas, etc

    • Awilli12003

      Wow. You’re right!

    • Injynqbs

      I really like this list–hope the author takes notice!

  • The Real Jane

    O.k. – I can get with the CPR, the language, and the self defense….and the taxes….but do you have to tell people they need to know how to drive and change a light bulb – and I have AAA so I don’t ever have to change another tire.  Balance checkbook – only if you are on a tight budget….credit report only needed when I need to buy a big ticket item i cannot pay with cash – pay bills on time and who cares what it says….

    • Deja

      In places like New York city, some people never learn how to drive.  

    • Janthonyrose

      You’re nuts if you feel you ONLY need to balance a checkbook or know what’s on your credit report when you want to buy a big ticket item. It’s when people go for this stuff AFTER the fact that they learn their credit is messed up. And it doesn’t matter if you pay in cash, you need to establish credit, ESPECIALLY NOW, in order to get a house, a car or even furniture. You’re confused if you feel these things aren’t necessary.

  • Ms Candy

    @IllyPhilly:disqus @Jean_Harlow:disqus  Ur responses made me chuckle.

    Now to the conversation at hand.. I don’t know about this list cause I know how to do all of them. These are basic everyday things that a women or even a little girl should know how to do… But for the women who don’t know how to do those things, U better learn them quickly

    • Arabelle

      There is nothing “basic” or “everyday” about changing a tire, doing taxes, swimming, among a few other things. Changing a tire takes quite a bit of practice and definitely some strength. Taxes require quite a bit of attention to detail as well as a decent level of comprehension which, unfortunately, a lot of people lack. As far as swimming, that’s typically easier for people who have more fat, as fat is less dense than water, but you have to take into consideration what people’s fears are and how long it takes for a person to pick up something. Not everyone learns at the same pace. Your comment that you “don’t know about this list” is baffling. Just because you CLAIM you know how to do everything on this does not by any means justify the validity of this test.

      • Deja

        But to know how to do these things can only make you a better person.  Learning how to swim can save your life.  To me, doing taxes, driving and swimming are basic, but in some areas, it might not be. I can’t change a tire and have no desire to learn.   For me personally, the most important thing on the list was learning how to swim.  Too many AA people do not know how to swim and have drowned when they should not have.  

  • Ahfo

    Need to learn how to change a car tyre!

    • Ajackson

      You need to learn how to spell “tire”

      • Shawnaamos

        Actually the British spelling is T-Y-R-E the American spelling is T-I-R-E 

  • mike

    sadly some men can do the majority of things on this list.

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  • jackieOsassin

    props for mentioning my white husband. *sigh* michael phelps… : )

    helpful list, though. i wish i did know how to swim, my community offers NO programs lol

    • Treacle123

       I have no desire to learn to swim or drive. But who knows my feelings may change soon enough

  • Lalatarea

    I’m sorry but this slide show doesn’t really sync with the msg u were teeing to convey on the first page. the tasks on this list weren’t empowering things for women but sh!!t EVERY person over the age of 21 should know how to do, just common sense stuff.

  • ModernIsis

    Hey! I know how to do most of those, just a few to add 🙂

  • i got a lot to add to my ‘To-Do’ list…

  • This is a great list, however, it should be specified that every “American” woman should know. In Saudi Arabia, a woman could be arrested for doing about 90% of these things. We should feel fortunate.

  • Jean_Harlow

    Why is changing a light bulb on the list? I’ve been changing a light bulb since I was 7 years old when I had a Mickey Mouse lamp in my bedroom. What about knowing how to save money and paying your rent and bills on time and not buy materialistic stuff if you’re income is low.

    • jasmine

      i only got as far as the 1st page. changing a light bulb? really!? women aren’t idiots! i knew right then that there was no reason for even clicking through all those slides.

      • KJ23

        I think if you would have read through the rest you would have been pleasantly surprised.  I rolled my eyes as well when I saw the title changing a light bulb, but the writer wasn’t just limiting that information to light bulbs, but to basic repairs and maintenance around the house that some women rely on men to do.  Maybe her topic heading was a poor choice, but read through the rest, I actually ended up liking this list, 

    • simply_put7

       There are a lot of women who don’t want to try to learn and/or change a light bulb. I have noticed it more with older generations of women than the younger ones.

  • IllyPhilly

    If you don’t know how to change a light bulb “What did the five fingers say to the face?” 

    • Jean_Harlow