Synopses & Reviews
An exploration of women's experiences in the workplace, as told by the women themselves, If I Had a Hammer: Women's Work in Poetry, Fiction, and Photographs depicts women in both nontraditional and traditional jobs. From women whose primary occupation is to birth and care for children, to women whose hips are "built for the birth of buildings", and all the office workers, supervisors, waitresses, and bus drivers in between, the voices are strong, self-assured, and full of the wisdom of the real world.
The result is both literary and documentary, a candid reporting of women's feelings and beliefs about their work. In her style of presenting an incredibly wide array of voices, Martz's collection represents various occupations, and not in a utopian sense. Although empowerment describes many experiences, exploitation has not been eradicated; equal pay is still the goal, not the reality. Work can often be boring and unfulfilling. But the women here are not victims. They set boundaries, draw lines over which they will not cross. They find beauty and art in routine tasks. They take risks, demand respect from coworkers and management, and maintain their self-esteem under the most difficult circumstances.
In traditional and nontraditional jobs, at home and in the workplace, these women share how they took charge of their lives, challenging each of us to do the same.
Empowerment and self-determination are two words that come to mind when trying to describe this collection. This is not to say that a utopian workplace is portrayed herein. Exploitation has not been eradicated; equal pay is still the goal, not the reality. Work can often be boring and unfulfilling.
But women here are not victims. These are strong women -- survivors. They set boundaries, take risks, demand respect, and maintain their self-esteem, with or without the help of management, coworkers, family or friends. And they do it with a sense of humor In traditional and nontraditional jobs, at home and in the workplace, these women are using their power to take charge of their own lives, challenging each of us to do the same.