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Woman defying odds in a male-dominated mechanic industry

For decades now, research statistics shows that some occupations have been reserved for a certain gender. Most jobs that require masculine strength is mostly associated with males.

It is not a choice but sometimes people find themselves in fields they never thought they would once have to embrace.

Edith Mwai, a mother of one, is a celebrated mechanic in a vehicle garage in Kerugoya Town.

Mwai says her parents supported her in pursuing a mechanic course after completing her ‘O’ level education and she enrolled for the training.

“My father knew how passionate I was to be a mechanic and when I completed my secondary school education, he advised me to go for it,” she recalled

Mwai is now a mechanic by profession, after completing her training in 2017, she shares her journey in the profession as well as challenges she experiences in the male-dominated career.

She says her day begins as early as 9 am up to the late evening.

At the garage at around noon attending to a customer, Mwai says, “I report at 9 am in the morning and go back home at around 7 pm,” Mwai explained.

She admits that the work was initially tough for her when she started, but it is the passion for the job that kept her going, “she said

“Mechanic is a course I have grown to be fond of since my childhood and after Form four education, I joined a technical college, where I was trained and since 2017, that’s what I have been doing,” Mwai said.

She, however, said challenges do exist, especially being the only woman in the garage where she works, sharing changing rooms with male colleagues and sometimes belittled by her male counterparts.

“I once found myself in a situation where I was to attend to a customer, but he declined my services and preferred a male, I felt rejected and disappointed,” she narrates.

On sharing of the social amenities with her colleagues, Mwai said it is quite challenging, especially where privacy is concern.

“I come in the morning and have to make sure I remain alone in the changing room, it is uncomfortable to change my attire since we don’t have a special room for ladies,” she said.

Mwai said it has also not been possible to do make-up due to the nature of work she engages in.

“You can even look at my hair, I don’t have much time to make it, our work involves a lot of dust, oils, and dirt everywhere,” she said

Despite the challenges, Mwai says, she works hard and she has never been ashamed of the work she does.

“This is where I get money to support my family and though the work involves a lot of dirt, I am proud of it,” Mwai said.

By Margaret Wanjiku

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