Female Mechanics: Rarer Than Sasquatch (The Awkward Question of Women and Auto Repair)

audraWhy don’t more women pursue a career in auto repair!? If I had a dollar for every time someone asked that question, I would be filthy rich.

My friend Charles at www.humblemechanic.com asked for my input on this subject. He received the following comment from one of his viewers:

“The state of woman in auto repair/dealership: are there any? Or are they as rare as Sasquatch? Why is that? Is the job too harsh, too physically challenging? Would customers trust a woman mechanic with their car? And not only in repair tech level, but all levels like service advisers, parts dept and all that.”

Female mechanics are very rare. In 2013, over 98% of mechanics were men. There are a lot of reasons for that, but first you should know the auto industry is woman friendly. Indeed, women held 25.4% of auto industry jobs in 2013. They just aren’t fixing engines. Where are they? Check out the chart below (source).

womenautoindustry

See that big green line next to “Office and Clerical Workers?” There’s your sign. Most women in the auto industry are filing documents, answering phones, preparing reports, and other back office stuff. That makes sense. According to socially accepted gender roles, it is “masculine” to be a mechanic and “feminine” to be a secretary.

Gender roles are just social constructs. Like the Sasquatch, people made them up. They are as fictional as a fairy tale. Individuals are too complex to stereotype. Not all men like to get their hands dirty and I know women who get a rush out of it. Guess what? I’m one of them!

It’s hard to work on cars, but women and men are equally capable to build strength and skill. The real question is this: “Will more women take an interest in auto repair?” I hope so. More and more females are getting stuck with college degrees they can’t even put to use. It’s sad to see talented women struggle looking for careers and overlook an entire industry.

A career is supposed to be empowering and rewarding for your life.  If you know a woman who’s interested in this field, please send her my way. And thank you to Charles for asking for my input (this is probably more than he bargained for!).

Dig this post? If so, please share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Click here to check out the new Women Auto Know (more updates coming soon!).

Mechanically Yours,

Audra

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2 thoughts on “Female Mechanics: Rarer Than Sasquatch (The Awkward Question of Women and Auto Repair)

  1. Women in the automotive trade ,one ask where are they ? Most of them work hand and hand with husband or partner in the trade . Yes, we do the paper work , yes, we are the service advisor , yes we pick up and deliver the part and bring customers home. Yes some of us even operate our owe automotive shops. That is our role traditionally. Warm and Cuddly . The world is changing and over the year that we (my husband and I ) 40 years. We have had three young ladies in our shop two of them become Technicians . Good one I may add ! The issue is physical all three young ladies over a period of time have upper body and muscle problems . Tires and front end work is heavy ! One of the ladies went on to write as a auto repair advisor for Chatelaine Magazine. The other is still of on disability . Over the 40 years that I have been in the trade I have pushed to get more visibility for females in the trade but in a more front counter (service advisor role ) . That is why female are now starting to make more and more car repair decision because the dealers and auto independent market realize the value of the female impute in those expensive decision. . I over all the years of working side by side with my husband equality means side by side it does not have to mean getting dirty and beening under the car . If a female has the strength , the interest , the desire, and the drive to get involved then no family member should hold her back . I think the schools should open the field open to all student . When schools teach the boys how to bake a cake and the girls to repair the cars that will start equally Just my five cent as to why there are not so many women in the trade.. In Canada it takes five years to become a technician or 9000 hour on the floor hands on .That is a long time for the male world to have patience with a lady who is not so inclined . The other reason may be a lot of the shop are on flat rate and a lot of pressure . The new world of computerization may make it easier for female to entry the trade because the work is much lighter. Most female staff we have where EXCELLENT in diagnostic of air conditioning problems or engine performance or as to why the customer’s MIL light was on .
    So bring on the sensor , the chip, and the automotive world will see more ladies. . .

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Anna. I agree the difference in upper body strength can be an issue. Hopefully parents will start to encourage their daughters to put down the dolls and go outside and play. Physical labor isn’t as hard when you exercise consistently! I’d love to see more female mechanics, but like you, I’m happy to see women join the auto industry in any capacity. 🙂

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