September '18

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Page 9 of 71

6 THE SHOP SEPTEMBER 2018 F rom 1975 to 1980, my job was driving an auto parts delivery truck and delivering parts throughout Connecticut. In all those hundreds of shops, never once did I see a woman performing tasks other than sitting behind a desk doing paperwork. Women did not work in the repair bays, pump gas or paint cars back then. For the first 20 years of my career, I was usually the only female around who worked on cars. Why weren't there more women working in automotive-related jobs during that time? I suspect that most parents didn't consider a career in a trade as something they wanted for their daughters. So, if a gal wanted a future as an auto mechanic, she'd first have to deal with her parents. If she got by them, she'd then have to get training and education. If she managed to tough-out trade school, she'd then have to convince someone to hire her. And even if she got a job, there were all those guys working there who maybe didn't want to see a woman doing their job. Many of them would try hard to make that woman quit. I know all this because I went through it when I trained to be a welder/fabricator. If you asked me back then if there would be many women working in auto shops in the future, however, I would have answered with an enthusiastic Yes! But it hasn't happened as quickly as I may have hoped. 6 THE SHOP SEPTEMBER 2018 In the INDUSTRY Women Building a community in a male-dominated field. By JoAnn Bortles

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