Girls Auto Clinic: Educating and Empowering Women, One Car At a Time
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Quick: How many female mechanics do you know?

We’re all well aware of how male-dominated the car industry is at every single touch point.

Still, the numbers that follow indicate just how important we are to this industry, despite how glaringly absent we are in the decision making and even marketing. In fact, women pour upwards of $200 billion on vehicles and maintenance for those vehicles. In the US alone, roughly about 500,000 women are in the market to purchase a vehicle at any given time within a 1 to 3 month window, ultimately impacting 85% of vehicle purchases. Additionally, women outnumber men drivers.

Even with these facts, the auto repair industry actively discourages our participation and makes the process of getting car repairs a daunting one.

Who doesn’t dread that “check engine” light?

What’s worse, the auto repair sector of the automotive industry still treats women as non-entities, even though women take their cars in for repairs more than men do. So much so, that 44% of women dislike having to deal with the auto repair shop and only 12% walk away feeling positive about their experiences while there.

As a self-professed, former auto-airhead, Patrice Banks knew the feeling all too well.

Armed with the frustration of being taken advantage of and tired of being a victim of sexist discrimination with auto repairs, Banks made up her mind to take matters into her own hands, literally.

She decided to become a mechanic, but not just for her own satisfaction. Banks saw the glaring neglect of women in the automotive industry and made it her personal mission to empower and educate other women car owners with her knowledge.

It was during this time she formulated the idea for Girls Auto Clinic (GAC). She fondly recalls the idea coming to her and the internal knowing she felt, saying, “Something was like, this is it, Patrice. This is it!”

Read more on the next page …

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