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April 27, 2015

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

Why 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!).

 

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