Women In The Automotive Industry
It may come to no surprise that the percentage of females working in the automotive industry is low. Historically speaking, the automotive trade has been dominated by men. Why? In the past, this may be so because of the physical and laborious demands of the field, or because this line of work was once passed down through family apprenticeships, where sons were likely chosen over daughters. But the industry has greatly changed from then to now.
The Rise of Women in the Automotive Industry: While women are still relatively uncommon in the automotive field, this trend has been increasingly changing as the evolution of modern cars change. As cars have gotten smarter, and automotive jobs have become more tech-based, more women have entered the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of women in the automotive repair and maintenance industry is 9.9% as of 2019, which grew from 7.3% back in 2015, and 1.4% back in 1999.
Great Women in Automotive History: Though the growth in women entering the automotive field is recent, women have always played a key role in the industry. Many have contributed to inventions in vehicles, and others have played an inspiring role. There are many—too many to name in one blog—but here are a few:
Breaking Gender Barriers in Auto History:
Mary Anderson & Florence Lawrence– In 1902, Mary invented the first ever windshield wiper, and in 1914, Florence Lawrence invented the first turn signal, known then as an “auto signaling arm.” Additionally, Florence was a big advocate for women driving, a controversial take during that time period.
Grace Lieblein – Grace began working at the age of 18 in a car assembly factory. Thirty four years later, she was appointed to Vice President of Global Purchasing at General Motors. In this position, she used her influence to encourage other women to enter the field and, if they wanted to, aspire to top positions.
Katharine Blodgett – Blodgett was a physicist and chemist; the first woman to earn a Physics Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. One of her notable inventions was a thin film that reduced reflections from glass—this would become non-reflective glass for our windows.
Alice Ramsey – Ramsey was the first woman to drive from coast to coast. During the drive, which took 59 days, she performed any necessary maintenance on her vehicle, from changing the tires almost a dozen times to replacing broken breaks. In 2000, she was the first woman to be named in the Automotive Hall of Fame.
Danica Patrick – Patrick is a former professional race car driver, with multiple records under her belt. She has also won multiple Kids’ Choice Awards, inspiring young women to view racing as an obtainable goal not exclusive to men.
These are just a few examples of women who have made their mark in the automotive industry and, with a rise in women mechanics, we look forward to seeing even more major female figures emerge.
Work at Christian Brothers Automotive
At Christian Brothers Automotive, we’ve been leading the industry since 1982. We understand the value of employing all genders in our shops, and are looking to add more women and men to our teams across the country. To learn more about our open positions, or to apply today, visit: https://www.cbautojobs.com/.