"After graduating with my Automotive Collision Refinishing certification, I landed my first body shop job in January 2011 – detailing cars for $8.25 an hour. During my interview, they questioned whether I was in a relationship; they didn’t want to hire a single woman who might cause problems by sleeping with the technicians. I also found out my male co-worker, who was still taking classes to achieve his certification, was making $9 an hour, 75 cents more than me! They eventually gave me a raise… but the damn audacity of even mentioning my relationship status and thinking they could get away with screwing me hourly – it was a slap in the face."
Former Autobody Technician--Kansas, 30 years old
“Equal pay isn’t just a women’s issue; when women get equal pay, their family incomes rise and the whole family benefits.”
"A week after being hired, the shop owner told me he’d hesitated to hire me because he was afraid of being forced to deal with sexual harassment reporting. He didn’t doubt I could do my job, but he was worried about the possibility of his current guys harassing me in some way. He didn’t want to risk being fined or forced to fire his guys. He acted like it was completely logical, but it pissed me off that I nearly didn’t get a job because he wasn’t sure his guys could act like decent human beings. They only hired me because the other applicants had little to no experience. Eventually, someone with experience applied, and since he was willing to work for a dollar less than I made, they hired him as a painter, downgraded me to a prepper, and docked my pay $5 an hour. I left that week."
Autobody Painter--New Jersey, 23 years old
"When the owner introduced me to the other techs during a job interview, the lead tech (who would be TRAINING me!) said, “You know this is a man’s world, and you don’t belong here, right?” – Right in front of the boss. Who said nothing. I was speechless. I was hired, but the lead tech refused to teach me anything, and six months later, he quit because he “didn’t like where the shop’s headed.”"
Mechanic, Michigan, 26 years old
"My trainer, who occupied the bay next to mine, called me a cunt – for no reason. I was obviously frustrated, but when I told the boss I wanted to swap bays, he told me, “We can’t rearrange the shop every time you have a bitchfit.” When I got pissed off about that, he told me to “go bleed already.” I reported him to the owner, and my bay got swapped, but eventually I just couldn’t handle the environment anymore, so I quit."
Mechanic, Ontario (Canada), 34 years old
A supervisor wouldn’t allow me to pick up my 4-year-old son before daycare closed. “Can’t you just call him a cab or something?” Then he sighed and muttered, “Men don’t have this problem.”
Automotive Service Technician--Ontario (Canada), 30 years old
“All growth starts at the end of your comfort zone.”
“It is not the intelligent woman v. the ignorant woman; nor the white woman v. the black, the brown, and the red, it is not even the cause of woman v. man. Nay, ‘tis woman's strongest vindication for speaking that the world needs to hear her voice.”
Anna Julia Cooper
"At my interview as a painter, I was told “I just don’t think a body shop is a place for a woman; they’re better off in the office.” He didn’t hire me, but when he called me back a year later, I went – there weren’t many body shops hiring in my area. He hired me as a helper but wanted to move me to the office eventually. He was a good guy but sucked to work for. I didn’t get paid squat, and he always made me feel like trash if I messed anything up - I was expected to be like the guys with years and years of experience, even though I had only been doing it for a short time. I never regretted working there because I got a lot of good experience, and it made me appreciate my new shop that much more."
"I have only good things to say about the older techs in the shop; I've always been treated equally and with respect, like everyone else. I’m always given opportunities to help out, and they’re always willing to teach me new things. I am so happy with my choice of working in the trade! The only negative things I've ever run into is with the guys around my age - there's a lot of jealousy and just negativity when I succeed or get along with the older techs."
Illinois, 25 years old
"I used to work at a shop that was owned by a woman and then her son took over, and it was 100% supportive and treated men and women equally. I can’t say the same for the customers, but we always had ownership’s backing when we needed it. Now I work at a shop that is probably better than most, but there is definitely some subtle sexism, such as there only being a men’s bathroom in the shop, the guys referring to other men as “chicks” when they are being dramatic, and resistance to hiring females in the shop because they might not “fit in.”
Oregon, 35 years old
I’ve received hundreds of supportive and encouraging comments. They tell me I’m making the difference, that I’m amazing at my job. When I was offered a position during a job interview, they told me, “Out of everyone here, your skills are beyond a value we can compensate you for, but we will try.”
Iowa, 24 years old