Where my girls at?

May 12, 2022
Male allies can help get more women into the industry.

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“The women in this industry are killing it.”

This was said to me by my colleague Brandon Steckler (newly appointed technical editor for Motor Age and PTEN) on the heels of my attending the Women in Auto care leadership conference. He immediately recounted a story about a female automotive airbrush artist he met recently at a training event who is an incredible talent. Not only is she “keeping up with the guys” so to speak, but her work is far surpassing them, Steckler explained.

PTEN and all our sister publications in Endeavor Business Media’s Vehicle Repair Group truly believe in the need to attract more women to the auto repair industry. Only nine percent of automotive repair and maintenance employees in the U.S. are female, according to a 2022 report by Catalyst. If we want to be a sustainable industry, we need to bring more women into the fold. Some great way to do this include:

  • Giving out scholarships to women for technical education, like the Women in Auto Care’s scholarship fund.
  • Have female role models for the younger generation to look up to, like Bogi Lateiner, who recently participated in a PTEN webinar about how young techs can succeed on the job.

One of the most powerful ways is through male allies, like Steckler. One such ally was a male shop owner who told a customer to “take a hike” when he refused to have his car worked on by a female technician. The owner said he didn’t want that ignorant individual’s business anyways.

Another ally was a technician who stood up for his female service advisor who was being given a hard time by a customer. He kept reinforcing her expertise and saying that she had been there 20 years longer than him and really knew her stuff. This type of support from men in the industry does go a long way in showing other men that women have a real place in the industry and also helps women feel supported and want to both stay in the industry, and enter it in the first place.

The truth of the matter is humans are naturally afraid of change, and we gravitate towards what we know. If all we know are male technicians, then that’s what we tend to look for in recruitment, but I challenge all of you to take a minute and think outside the box. Listen to Steckler and other high-profile individuals in the industry who are sure to squash your hesitations. Of all of you shop owners that are having a hard time finding qualified techs, it’s time to broaden your horizons. It’s time to be an ally.

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