Is there a connection between those who have a passion for anything automotive and those who want to be a first responder? For me, since childhood, I wanted to be two things in life: a mechanic and a police officer. It was a challenge for me. Today that dream is within reach. During my upbringing, these professions were considered taboo for women. Women knew their so-called place in society – barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.
In 2018 with the Me Too movement, that last phrase was probably ripped from the male vocabulary. Women have made big strides over the years within the workplace. First, there was the right for women to vote in 1920; then in the 1960s, the women’s movement helped more women enter the workforce. The most common jobs held by women are:
1. Secretaries and administrative assistants
2. Registered nurses
3. Elementary and middle school teachers
5. Nursing, psychiatric and home health aides
6. Retail salespersons
7. First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers
The two careers you do not see on this list are mechanics and police officers. These types of jobs were considered unfeminine, and society felt women were not physically capable of performing these duties. If you tried, they considered you an outcast.
Times have changed and so have the women. On my weekly radio show, “Teresa’s Garage,” I have interviewed hundreds of women in the automotive and racing industry since its first airing in 2014. Learning about what makes these women and young girls tick, I have found something very interesting.
With some of those I have interviewed, we are years apart; others are close to my age. The one thing I found interesting among 85 percent of all of these ladies is this similarity that seems to connect us: we all have interest in automotive work as well as wanting to be a first responder.
At first, I thought it might be a coincidence, but as time went on, the number of women with both interests grew, which increased my curiosity. So what is the connection between the two careers that makes us want to include both in our lives?
For me, it was an easy decision; I knew early on I wanted to be both, but for other women, I am still trying to find the link to the reasons. I find it very interesting that these two careers really have a connection, even though they are so different from one another.
Let’s break down each career. First Responders are quick to respond; they help people; they are doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers, etc. Lifesaving is a top priority. They repair lives, work on call, wear a uniform, solve problems, work as a team, and must have tools to do their job, not to mention the adrenalin rush this profession creates on a daily basis.
Now let’s look at the automotive industry. This industry is not just about mechanics, it also includes race car drivers. Like first responders, mechanics must solve problems, diagnose issues, and wear a uniform; they save lives by performing their jobs correctly and keeping the customers’ cars operating safely. They work as a team most times, and they need tools to perform their duties.
Race car drivers get an adrenalin rush when soaring down a track at high rates of speed. They must help their mechanics solve problems with the race car and working as a team is a must. On the track, maintaining control of your vehicle under these intense conditions saves lives, otherwise more crashes could occur. They wear a racing suit and helmet for safety, and depend on their mechanics to ensure the car is safe at such high speeds.
So these professions do share some common elements – but what is the true connection between these two careers? Frankly, I could not pinpoint the answer. The one thing I learned is we are tomboys. I will continue to pursue the reason and continue to enjoy the interviews of all these amazing women who dare to be different and follow their dreams.