15 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Getting in touch with your feminine side

I must confess, I am not just writing for Aftermarket these days. I struck up a conversation with the Editor of our local paper at a chamber of commerce event a while back, well, to be more honest, I’ve more or less been talking her ear off at various local business events for years.

I kept chipping away, proffering copies of this wonderful publication, pointing out my place in it, and how highly regarded I am by the Editor here. Eventually, I wore her down, and talked her into a regular column. My thinking was that it would be good to educate the readership about how a modern garage functions, and how such an establishment can help drivers with their automotive problems. She thought this was a great idea.

I’ve looked at a range of topics, a bit like I do here, but without so many technical terms, and awkward words that will trip up the layman. Actually my pieces have gotten more ambitious. I’ve started to look at broader issues and how they are
reflected in the motor sector. Across a number of industries in recent months, the issue of staff shortages has come to a head. Obviously for us, it has been a problem for some time.
One of the ways to address a staff shortage is to widen participation. We are, for the most part, perceived as a male industry. If you are short on people, only drawing from half the available people would seem to be short-sighted.

So, I wrote a piece on the important role women play in the sector. I even went as far as to interview Mrs P, as she performs a major role in the garage. Between the two of us we discussed the many ways women help businesses like ours.

I closed off the article with quite a long parting thought from me, offering my observations on how participation could be addressed. I was ever-so pleased with it. When it came out, I thought I would still be proud of it. However, when I reviewed this long stream of unconsciousness from myself printed on the page I realised that, with a stunning lack of self-awareness, I had just mansplained the whole thing. I was a little concerned about this, so I called the newspaper and expressed my concerns to the Editor, but as far as she was concerned, I was an industry professional, from an industry full of men, saying that we need more women, and that was okay with her.

Well, I’m not going to be doing so much writing this month, as I am quite excited to be going to a motor industry trade show again. With the UK Garage and Bodyshop Event on at the NEC this month, I am booking myself out of the workshop for a day, and heading to Birmingham. I always enjoy getting over to these things, as I always feel I learn a lot about new tech and methods when I am able to get up-close and personal with it all. If you see me there, then the cartoon at the top is clearly getting very life!