Surprise: Women Feel Good Under the Hood

May 26, 2010
Mechanic Shae Davis in the year 2000. Image via Flickr, thanks to Seattle Municipal Archives.

Mechanic Shae Davis in the year 2000. Image via Flickr, thanks to Seattle Municipal Archives.

Car repair shops have long been thought of as male-dominated places, especially when it comes to those who are employed there. But two Canadian garages are working to change that--and win over the hearts and wallets of female customers.

One of those shops, Ms. Lube By Mechanchik in Toronto, calls itself the first all-female repair shop--meaning all the mechanics and apprentices are female. So is the owner, Jessica Gilbank.

The odd thing is, most of the customers are male, which might not be surprising given the pin-up logo the garage uses.

No matter what type of customers the place draws, it's clear that the talent pool that Ms. Lube is drawing from is potentially large. Along with Centennial College, the garage is hoping to expand employment opportunities for women in the field.

It will first have to withstand a lawsuit from the similarly-named Mr. Lube chain, but so far, the garage employees seven female mechanics and apprentices. Automotive repair work may not look glamorous, but it can pay well, so creating opportunities for women could be a boost for female workers.

Ms. Lube isn't the only female-owned garage in the Toronto area--AutoNiche also is owned by a woman, Emily Chung, who graduated from Centennial. Both owners say they stress customer service, and AutoNiche offers services that are helpful for families, such as installing car seats.

If both shops can resonate with customers, and perhaps help remove the stigma that female mechanics may have faced in the past, there's a chance that there will be less mechanics named Joey and more named Jane.

[Source: Toronto Sun]

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