This I Believe

Cait - Superior, Colorado
Entered on December 14, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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The Automotive Industry is an intensely male oriented society today. Women are the minority and looked upon as lesser skilled. Women are not strong enough or smart enough to work on cars. It’s not something I feel like I need to live with, and I hate how it’s just an automotive social norm. I should know. I deal with men who think this way almost daily.

Since I was young, I knew I was different. I loved football, skateboarding, motocross, cars and lots of things that girls weren’t supposed to like. Now that I’ve grown older, I’m beginning to invest in my interests. I ride dirt bikes, watch football, and have a true passion for working on cars. I’m attending a vocational school for auto technology and looking into many automotive colleges

I can’t count how many times I’ve been warned about the bigoted men in the auto industry. Just recently I had an interview with a man who spent 10 minutes explaining to me how many people he has encountered with this mindset. He thought it was wrong and said some of the best techs he has ever seen were women, but many wouldn’t agree with him. This seems to be the biggest roadblock I will come across in my career as a technician.

The Automotive Industry is booming and needs experienced technicians. I feel with the training I’m receiving in school, I’m equally qualified for these positions as any man. Given, I’m little and I might not have the muscles on my side, but so far, in my experience I’ve always been able to figure out a way to overcome that. I hope to own my own garage someday and I feel that people would feel good about leaving their car under my care, especially women. Mechanics get a bad reputation as con artists, out to get peoples money with procedures that they don’t really need. I feel that I’d have that trust factor.

So many times I have walked into Checker, Napa, and even Walmart and been stared at. I’ve asked employees for help finding something, and had them point it out, begin to walk away, turn around and ask me why I’d be looking for that. When I explain to them I need it for my auto class or for my car, they always get this classic look on their face and walk away. There isn’t much I wouldn’t give to never have to see that look again. Not all are bad though. Sometimes they will stop and strike up conversation with me and tell me that it’s nice to see women in the industry. There are still those out there who need to come to realizations. I’m just a girl who likes to work on cars. That’s not going to change. I hope that I’ll be able to change peoples mind about women mechanics, and to that I’ll have to learn and become the best mechanic I can possibly be.