“It is not sufficient to see and to know the beauty of a work. We must feel and be affected by it.” — Voltaire

I’m fresh off the BlogHer conference where I met many wonderful people… including a few men that braved the event. I met the ladies from BeJane.com and we had a nice discussion about women owning their own homes. Be Jane serves the women do-it-yourselfers (DIY) in the home improvement marketplace and is a good resource for projects and community in case you want to be a Jane too.

Their website cites some interesting statistics about the female DIY market place. Here are three worth repeating:

– 67% of women describe themselves as a “Do-It-Yourselfer”
– 57% of all women homeowners would rather work on their homes than on improving their careers
– 17 million single women own homes today, and this will increase to over 30 million in the United States alone by 2010.

The Janes continue with their analysis, “In addition, more than half of America’s women have undertaken a home improvement job in the past two years. The two major home improvement centers — Lowe’s and Home Depot – both reported that half of the purchases made within their stores during the 2002 sales year were in fact made by women.”

Jeanine and I like to play our own game of “spot the lesbian” at Home Depot. There are always lots of women at our neighborhood store. Who knew that so many straight women had grown comfortable with power tools? Go girls!

Awhile back I wrote a post called Modern Day Dowry that talked about single women delaying the purchase of their own home. Some of my single straight friends have even said that they fear this step of independence might actually work against them and scare off men. I was shocked to hear that line of thinking.

But it appears the Janes and other women like the authors of “The Tao Gal’s Guide to Real Estate: Six Modern Women Discover the Ancient Art of Finding, Owning and Making a Home” are trying to change this mindset.

In March, Jane Ganahl at the San Francisco Chronicle reviewed and spoke with the authors: Michelle Huneven and Bernadette Murphy.

Ganahl writes, “Their quest for home and hearth – and spirituality – come together in the slightly schizophrenic ‘Tao Gal’s Guide,’ a charming self-help/memoir hybrid that works well on both counts. The authors weave stories of the six women’s real estate dealings – complete with all the expected Sturm und Drang – with solid, relatively impartial advice on the how-to’s. The text is peppered throughout with sayings from the Tao, appropriate for each stage of the real estate pursuit.”

She gives one example: “We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.”

Ganahl continues, “Huneven did eventually find a dwelling place – a small, shabby two-bedroom place in Altadena, whose chief selling point was its huge yard and citrus trees. But she managed to turn its ‘inner space’ into something uniquely her own, remodeling like mad while writing the book – fully admitting she was ill equipped for the job.”

“Single women aren’t raised to think about whether we want hollow doors in our homes,” she notes. But that world is changing. So go find your inner Jane and let me hear your power tools roar.