I've been driving for nearly seven years myself, but if you asked me how to change a tyre, or fix a light, or anything else car-related, I'm totally stumped. Lots of women often find the same frustrations, plus there's forever the worry that you're going to be taken advantage of and ripped off by mechanics. So I loved it when I came across a YouTube channel in the vlogosphere that could help us all out.
Jessica Chou is the woman behind Jessicann, the channel that teaches women everything about cars ranging from changing the oil to replacing your car's headliner!
Talking to Smart Girls, Jessica spoke about what inspired her to start the channel: “I was outside working on my car and a man walked by. He looked at me very confused, and asked ‘What are you doing?’ I told him I was fixing my spark plugs. He then asked, ‘By yourself?’ And I proudly replied, ‘Yes! By myself!’ I’ve never felt more empowered, and I knew I had to find a way to capture that feeling and share it with other girls. So I started my channel, Jessicann, to show girls that we CAN work on cars too!”
The success of her YouTube channel found her wanting more, and after an email to the LA Auto Show, Jessica ended up with a 1,100 sq. foot female-focused space at the event, named the Girls' Garage. The Girls' Garage booth was the first of its kind. Inspired by the high percentages that revolve around women and cars (51% of driving licence holders are women; 50% of new cars are bought by women; 65% of car repair customers are women; 80% of car buying decisions are influenced by women), she found it hard to believe that there wasn't previously anything aimed towards women at the show.
Gender stereotypes has made roles such as mechanics, engineers, plumbers, electricians, and even coders, predominantly 'male' career paths, and women sometimes find themselves intimidated by these kinds of jobs. Talking about a potential future of female mechanics, Jessica added:
“I think we don’t see as many female mechanics because the industry is still so heavily dominated by men. When we think of a mechanic, we think of men. When we see ads or posters of mechanics, we see men. When we see shows about cars, we see men. It will take a long time to change all of this, but in the 10 short months that I’ve been on this journey, I’ve met so many incredible people who are out to change the game. I’ve met female mechanics, I’ve met female drag racers, I’ve met a whole group of young girls enrolled in their high school’s mechanics program. It’s an intimidating field to get into, but so worthwhile, and so important when we talk about women empowerment and advancement.”
Totally incredible. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to fix the chip in my windscreen...