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Extinguish the Flame

Women in Auto Repair: How Female Mechanics are Changing the Automotive Industry

Thursday December 1, 2022

Ever wondered why every repair shop seems to be completely dominated by men? Although you may not have thought about it before now, finding a female mechanic in any automotive repair and maintenance establishment is a rather rare occurrence. In fact, only 2 out of 100 auto mechanics in the United States are women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But what does that really mean? Let’s break it down.

An Imbalance in the Auto Industry

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, only 19,236 female auto mechanics were working in the field in 2018 (approximately 2.1% of all mechanics). Additionally, only 130,174 women overall worked in the automotive repair and maintenance field (approximately 9.7 percent). What causes this discrepancy? Well, there are a lot of factors.

In the past, the auto repair field required that employees meet difficult physical standards to succeed, meaning many women may have been overlooked or underestimated when attempting to enter the field. Automotive repair apprenticeships were once often passed down through families as well, making it unlikely for daughters to continue the line of work. Despite all that, things are much different today—so why does the imbalance persist?

Thankfully, the imbalance between men and women in the auto repair field is starting to diminish. In 1999, only 1.4% of workers in the automotive repair and maintenance industry were women, which grew to 7.3% by 2015 and has now reached almost 10%. Still, there is clearly much progress to be made, and we look forward to seeing that number continue to rise.

Automotive Accomplishments by Women in History

Despite the automotive field being dominated by men, women have historically had a huge impact on the world of automobiles as we know them today. Let’s look at some of the accomplishments of women in automotive history:

Stephanie Kwolek – Born in 1923, Kwolek was a chemist who invented the material we now know as Kevlar. This special fiber is considered five times as strong as steel. In 1968, Kwolek received a patent for her invention, and it is still used today in tires, vehicle armor, hoses, brake pads, and other automotive parts.

Mary Anderson – While out and about in the early 1900s, Anderson noticed that inclement weather would cause streetcar drivers to open their windows or leave the streetcar to clear their windows to see. To remedy this issue, she invented a rubber blade and lever mechanism that allowed streetcar operators to clear their windows from the inside. Another accomplished woman from automotive history, Charlotte Bridgwood, even improved upon her design in 1917 by patenting the first electric windshield wiper.

Margaret Wilcox – Do you enjoy the way your car keeps you warm and cozy in the cold winter months? You have Margaret Wilcox to thank. In 1893, she patented her car heating system, which was designed to eliminate fog from the windshield and make driving a more pleasant experience. Needless to say, we still use car heating systems today.

Florence Lawrence – In 1914, Florence Lawrence invented the first turn signal, known then as an “auto signaling arm.” At a press of a button, the arm would raise or lower a flag on the car’s rear bumper that told other drivers which way the car was going to turn. She also developed the first mechanical brake signal, although she never received patents for these inventions.

Mary Barra – Born in 1961, Barra has been the CEO of General Motors since 2014, making her the first woman to lead one of the big three automakers. Barra began her career with General Motors in 1980 and has taken on several roles in the interim, including Vice President of Global Human Resources and Executive Vice President of Global Product Development.

These are just a few examples of women who have impacted the automotive industry for the better. As women continue to become a larger part of the automotive field, there are surely more exceptional women ready to make their mark on the world.

The Future of Auto Repair

Induction Innovations is proud to support women in all fields with our top-of-the-line induction heaters. Our company is founded on the belief that everyone in industries from automotive and agriculture to construction and trucking should have access to the tools they need to thrive. Interested in learning more? Read more about the origins of our family-owned, Chicago-area business, learn how our heat induction tools can benefit you, or contact us with your inquiries.

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Since 2000 Induction Innovations, Inc. has helped customers enjoy the advantages of turning to induction heat for their project applications to save time, resources, and money. Talk with us about your industry needs and secure the perfect product for your requirements. Reach out to us via phone at 877-688-9633 or email at

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