Inspiring gender diversity in the automotive industry

Traditionally, the automotive industry has been known to be male-dominated but as cultures progress into the future, there has been a tremendous growth in gender diversity.

With International Women’s Day being celebrated on March 8, 2019, some of OK Tire’s many female experts across Canada were asked to share a few of their top tips and advice to other women who are working in the automotive industry, or plan to do so.

Ronita Chandra, OK Tire Burnaby Kingsway, BC

How can the industry promote more female inclusion in your workforce?
Have more educational information available for females in the industry. If you haven’t taken a program in the field, it can be hard to find things to read up on for someone new to the industry. I also find that when they have trade shows or job fairs there aren’t many women present. You just never know, having a female at the booths may open up people’s minds because someone may walk by and say, “Wow! I never thought of that as an option.”Ronita Chandra, OK Tire Burnaby Kingsway, BC

What do you feel are the biggest roadblocks for women in the auto industry?

Sandra Shaw, OK Tire Invermere, BC

I believe the biggest roadblock for women in the automotive industry is the stereotype.  Often as a female, customers do not want to ‘talk shop’ with me.  “Can I talk to one of the guys” is the most common question I get even if it is to just book an appointment.  Sandra Shaw, OK Tire Invermere, BC

What advice would you give women looking to enter the field?
My advice to women in the trade or thinking of going into the trade is: Don’t Be Afraid of The Trade. Everyone says that it is harder for women because it’s a man’s career and a man’s job but in all honesty, it’s ours as much as it is theirs. – Chelsey Hattum, OK Tire Moosomin, SK

Lisa Davis, OK Tire Watson, SK.

What has been your approach to disrupting a very established industry?
I have been very fortunate that our staff are a young team of males that have been brought up in the modern day. I am proud to say that we have young, knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff and they are always willing to help or answer any questions I may have and vice versa.  It’s a give and take world that we live in. – Lisa Davis, OK Tire Watson, SK.

Dana Douthwright, OK Tire Quispamsis, NB

In your opinion, what steps are needed to ensure women are active in the automotive and technology industry?
It’s important for women in this industry to not be intimidated and be confident in their abilities. It’s also important for women to be able to speak to the male customer in such a way that he doesn’t feel intimated that the female service advisor knows more about his vehicle than he does. It sometimes makes the male customer uncomfortable that a female knows more about cars than he does because it isn’t as typical. Open and honest communication is key. Dana Douthwright, OK Tire Quispamsis, NB

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