Search ads by make

Previous Features

Friday Lady

Friday LadyWomen with wrenches

When was the last time your car has been serviced by a female car mechanic? The chance that you will answer  “never” is approximately 99,9%. Even in our modern times, where men and women are equal in most countries. Theoretically that is, in practice it may be different. There are not that many female mechanics, it still is a men’s job.

Back in those days, in the United States, it was World War I that made space for women in the workforce, amongst other economical and social influences. Due to the rise in demand for production from Europe during the raging war, more women found themselves working outside the home. These were mostly jobs in factory work or as domestic servants, but as WW I came to an end they were able to move on to such jobs as: sales people in department stores as well as clerical, secretarial and other jobs. It was the entry of the United States into World War II that created a serious shortage of engineering talent in that country as men were drafted into the armed forces. During WW II, women worked in the war industries, building ships, aircraft, vehicles, and weaponry. Women also worked in factories, munitions plants and farms, drove trucks, provided logistic support for soldiers, and entered professional areas of work that were previously the preserve of men.

The high school girls in the pictures were ahead of their time, and were learning the art of automobile mechanics in 1927 at Central High School, Washington D.C.

 Picture 1: Grace Wagner. Picture 2: Left to right: Grace Hurd, Evelyn Harrison and Corinna DiJiulian, with Grace Wagner under the car.

How about you, would you let a female mechanic fix your car? My personal tongue-in-cheek advice: since women have smaller hands than men, when it is about fixing small parts like a fuel tap [link:], let a female mechanic handle it.

Text: Marius Hille Ris Lambers (

Pictures: US National Photo Company Collection


#2 Marius 2017-04-14 12:53
@Tom St Martin And why was she called "Big Jane", Tom? ;-)
#1 2017-04-10 17:29
My former business, an equipment rental company, had a lot of trucks for rent, service and deliveries. We also plowed snow during the nine months of Minnesota winters. One of the best companies for automatic transmission work was run by a woman known as Big Jane.

Add comment