March is known as Women’s history month, and the women employed at Ink N Iron; the female staffed auto body shop in Oakville, Ont., are certifiably badass. The shop is run by an all female team of mechanics.
Auto body technicians make body repairs to cars, trucks and other motor vehicles by utilizing a wide range of specialty body repair tools, and practices. At Ink N Iron, the women cover a wide array of areas such as paint and refinishing, body work and frame work, basic repairs, and the shop doubles up as a tattoo parlor as well.
The shop itself is inspiring for women wanting to learn and strive in the automotive field as to this day, the sexism and stereotyping of women working in the industry is still very real.
Hilary Noack, owner, and founder of Ink N Auto, prides herself on the fact her shop strives on women power. “I wanted to provide a safe, judgement free work environment where we can all learn from each other as well as training the next generation of female techs,” she said. “I hope we can serve as an inspiration for any lady out there who wants to get into this trade, and that not only do women belong in this industry but we excel at it!”
Noack used to be a teacher at Centennial College in the automotive program and she noticed an extreme lack of female students.
In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that there were 19,236 female auto mechanics in the U.S., a total of 2.1 per cent of all auto mechanics, and a total 130,174 women in the automotive repair and maintenance field. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics are an American organization, the U.S. and Canadian figures are thought to be similar.
While Noack was teaching, she noticed that her female students worked significantly harder than her male ones while “only earning half the respect.” The female students did some truly amazing work as well.
The all female auto shop is proof that women can find success in the male dominated automotive industry. Ink N Iron is a beacon of hope for women struggling in the field, and shows them that there is a safe, hard working, and most of all, inclusive environment for females who are passionate about vehicles.
Nicole Singh, a female student in the automotive program at Conestoga College said, “As a woman who’s found joy in working on, and fixing vehicles, it’s an awesome opportunity to be in [a] very inclusive environment, where the gender inequality is non-existent. What the girls at Ink N Iron are doing is truly inspiring as a woman who hopes to find success in the automotive trade.”