A survey conducted in 2013 showed that just 2% of mechanics are women. The obvious question then, is why? We know that women hold around 25% of jobs in the automotive industry, so why aren’t they fixing cars?
Well, it turns out that behind almost every female mechanic is a tale of adversity and difficulties that male mechanics just don’t have to contend with. Some stories were universal amongst women like harassment, whereas others have to be read to be believed. However, one thing the women on our list all share in common is a fierce determination to achieve their goals.
A career in mechanics is incredibly rewarding but for some women, it can be especially tough. Here are some of the worst stories told by female mechanics.
15 A Weighty Problem
It’s not a surprise to anyone when we tell you that women generally weigh less than men. This can prove to be a problem for vertically challenged female mechanics though. One woman who had been a professional for years still had problems with over-torqued bolts, even when she was lifting off the floor and putting all of her 55 lbs of weight on them.
14 Unequal Wages
In another instance, she had recently been promoted to a service technician. About a month into her new job she realized she was getting paid $1/hour less than the other technicians. Her complaints to HR was met with silence. Her manager was livid that she went over his head to human resources and kept writing her up until she eventually quit.
13 Banned Photos
In the UK earlier this year, an advertisement featuring a fully clothed female mechanic was banned after a single complaint. The add for a Porsche garage showed a woman wearing a figure-hugging outfit and pink heels working on a car. The Advertising Standard Authority said the advertisement was not offensive but bore little relevance to the advertised product. Has that ever been an issue before?
12 Reddit Rant
An anonymous Redditor shared her experience after transferring from a major car dealer to a small workshop. She enjoyed her new job at first but it didn’t take long for her boss to show his true colors, constantly criticizing her work, belittling her in front of customers and flat out ignoring her, while showing favoritism to the other male mechanic that worked there. It sounds like a nightmare!
11 Jordans First Female Mechanic
Balqees Bani Hani is a name that not many people will be familiar with but amazingly, she is famous in Jordan as the first female mechanic. When she was taking steps to open her store she said she had to battle against officialdom at every stage. The Government of Jordan tried to delay her at every stage by continually changing what was needed. To their surprise, she never gave up and now owns her own repair store.
10 Long Hair Problems
Nowadays there are safety regulations in any industry that deals with machinery but it wasn’t always the case. A woman in the USA learned the hard way that long hair and fans don’t mix when she was checking under the hood when her hair got caught on the fan belt. After surgery, she now wears a wig to hide where her hair refuses to grow back.
9 Women Are Good At Cleaning
One female mechanic who wanted to remain anonymous said her experiences varied widely. The key difference she said, was how middle management viewed women in the workplace. She explained that her worst job involved one supervisor who would always get her to clean up the shop when work was slow because he said ‘women are good at cleaning’.
8 Working Twice As Hard
Another Redditor who is an aviation mechanic shared her experience and said although she loved the job, she had to work twice as hard as her male coworkers. She said she stood out more in the male-dominated industry, and as such, if she wasn’t working constantly, people would comment on her being lazy and assume she never did any work.
7 Let’s Not Meet
There was a story going around about one female who worked in her Dads shop part-time. One day her Dad was out on a test drive when she heard the side door open and in walked a customer she had seen a couple of weeks earlier. She remembers him wearing the same clothes and he smelled awful. She could tell he was drunk and he asked her for a hug. Luckily her Dad returned and told him to get lost.
6 Dumping Ground
A female mechanic who owns her own repair shop in New York said she hadn’t noticed any issues with being a female. One trend, however, was that customers tend to vent to her about their past bad experiences. People generally view female mechanics as more trustworthy and usually see them as a dumping ground for past auto trauma tales.
5 Heavy Lifting
Heavy diesel mechanics have their own unique challenges. One problem that female mechanics found themselves constantly coming up against was that nobody wanted to give them a chance because they thought they wouldn’t be able to handle lifting such heavy equipment. But as one mechanic said, you learn to work smarter and not harder.
4 The Fragile Male Ego
Recently on an ‘ask a female mechanic anything’ Q& A, one woman lamented – “creepy customers are a real problem. Learn how to handle them, or be ready for backlash if you have to kick them out because of their behavior. Large men throwing tantrums isn’t pretty, and it happens a lot".
3 Bad Attitudes
We had one mechanic who was absolutely furious about her first job and the terrible manager that she had. This horrorshow of a manager started marking 'that time of the month' on a calendar because he said he was tired of her terrible attitude. It’s fair to assume he never did any self-reflection to consider that he might be responsible for peoples attitude towards him!
2 Equal Opportunity Employers
The same mechanic with the terrible manager also complained that while it was nice to be able to work in her chosen field, she often felt like she was paraded around in front of the customers to show they were all about equality. Luckily, most customers of auto shops just care if somebody can fix their car or not!
1 Unwanted Advances
A well known YouTuber recently did a tell-all interview about her experience as a female mechanic. When she started, she spent a few days in the office learning the ropes she got a lot of unwanted comments that were straight up harassment. She was dreading going out onto the floor, thinking it would be worse, but to her surprise, all of the technicians she worked with were surprisingly respectful.
Sources: Reddit, Women Auto Know and Time.