How I Dealt With Gender Discrimination As A Woman In The Automotive Industry

By Chelsy Ranard


When I first started working for an off-roading tour in Alaska I didn’t know anything about cars – about any vehicle really. I walked on site for the first time with my manager, who was a man, a few mechanics that were men, and another guide who was (surprise) also a man. I was immediately intimidated…

When I was hired I was told that I didn’t need to be mechanically inclined in any way. Those things could be taught and my ability to show stellar customer service was much more important. Once on site, my manager immediately asked me to drive the karts over to the washing station… I didn’t even know how to start these things. I asked him to show me and he rolled his eyes and showed me how. “Here we go,” I thought. Here comes the gender discrimination. I’m already the only chick on site and (surprise) I’m an idiot.

In the years prior to this I worked for a fly fishing and hiking tour. My boss was a female fly fisherman and we were used to being in an all-male driven industry. I’ve gotten the laughs and snide remarks from men after giving them fishing advice. I have a ton of male friends that I grew up with that give me a hard time for not knowing a particular gun or type of truck. These stereotypes were nothing new to me, but I knew I could learn these things and was always frustrated at these negative opinions from the men in my life. I never cared that they didn’t know anything about my girl-centric hobbies so why should they care about what I didn’t know?

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This is What Race and Gender Discrimination Looks Like

By Yvette Butler

I am a single mother of three children. I was hired by Coca-Cola in 2003 as a production mechanic at the Maspeth, Queens (New York) plant. I was the only female African-American mechanic until my termination in 2008. For five years, I faced constant racial and gender discrimination, unfair work assignments and sexual harassment from supervisors and co-workers. My complaints to managers and the Human Resources Department were ignored.

Throughout my employment, I was denied essential training on machines alongside my co-workers while white male mechanics were given this necessary training. I was constantly harassed on the job by male co-workers and supervisors who made comments like, “What is it? That time of the month?” A white female co-worker refusing an assignment went unchallenged when she openly said in a meeting and in my presence, “What am I, a Nigger?”

A maintenance manager persistently asked me for dates and made sexual jokes as I worked on the machines. The harassment and abuses escalated after I refused his advances. He told supervisors to assign me to dangerous and hazardous jobs alone, jobs that are normally done by two or more mechanics, thus jeopardizing my safety. None of my male and non-black counterparts had to work alone on these jobs. Another supervisor even instructed me to use a cigarette lighter to heat and soften up a hose in a room full of flammable chemicals. Instructions I fortunately did not follow and found another way to fix the hose.

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Engineer Took All the Right Steps But Still Didn’t Receive Fair Pay

By Cheryl Hughes

Cheryl Hughes headshot

Cheryl Hughes

I was a divorced mother of two when I began pursuing an engineering degree in 1982. I had to overcome many obstacles such as an overwhelming male majority in the field, time management constraints, child care dilemmas, and finding a balance between motherhood and being a student. However, there was one obstacle I couldn’t overcome — pay inequity.

I was hired by a manufacturer on February 1, 1995, as an associate engineer with a starting salary of $39,600. When I asked for more money, I was told it was not in the budget. I decided to accept the offer and prove that I was worthy of a higher salary.

While working there, I befriended a white male engineer. He had asked the salaries of our white co-workers. In 1996, he asked my salary; I replied, “$44,423.22.” He told me that I, an African American woman, was being discriminated against. The next day, he gave me pamphlets from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Despite learning that I was underpaid, I worked diligently to improve my skills. My performance evaluations were good. When a young white woman was hired at my firm, my friend told me that she earned $2,000 more than I did. At this time, I had a master’s degree in electrical engineering and three years of electrical engineering experience. This young woman had one year of co-op experience and a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

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Women’s Writing in the Philippines

By Marivir R. Montebon

New York City – My women writer sisters in the Philippines have given birth to a new news website, and I share their happiness and triumph. I have been in touch with them scarcely but as what women say they will do, the website is born, on March 7, a day before International Women’s Day! Here is to profound, fun, and quality reading to all people all over the world. Thank you to my friends who think outside the box, Diana G. Mendoza, Pinky Serafica, and Diosa Labiste. Welcome to our brave and safe writing space.

Dear Diosa Labiste, this is a long time coming. I miss reading you.

Diosa Labiste writes on

This social news site emerged out of despair by some writers, feminists, activists and, (as they call themselves), witches rolled into one. Some months ago, a news site where we honed our skills as writers and which we continued to support, through falling revenues, readership and enthusiasm, had closed down. Its demise was inevitable for reasons that we rather keep to our sad selves. It’s safe to say that it reached a cul de sac and the barrier was quite high to hurdle. But as the ink has started drying, we grew restless. We wondered if we could live without writing as women and for women. How do we recreate a community of women writers and connect with new ones. Is a community of writers still relevant in the age of social media when one can easily have a platform for airing one’s views and assemble followers who could click, like, tweet, retweet one’s words? Fake news sites, for example, would buy bots to make their accounts viral.

However a community of women writers is a different space. First, it is a space for teaching and learning. We learned that long ago when we were starting out as writers. We watched how seasoned writers polished our stories, taught us the basics, and tempered our idealism with reality. Second, it is a space of resistance. For example, our editors helped us make sense of the women’s movement in the Philippines and convinced us why writing about women crucially contributes to strengthening the struggle for equality of women and men. We allowed our stories to reveal various forms of sexual and structural discrimination as a function of societal differences like gender and class. Third, it is a space for empowerment. Through our writing, we enacted our politics and registered our protests against injustices and gender oppression that we saw and experienced in our lives.

Having experienced that kindness, it became apparent to some of us, younger writers, that perhaps it is our turn to do the same.

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Marivir has a blog at



What It’s Like to be a Woman Working in Construction

While women represent nearly half of the labor force, they hold only 2.6 percent of construction jobs, according to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). The miniscule share of women in construction, a relatively highly paid industry, has barely budged in the past 35 years. There are more than 7,600,000 male construction workers in the U.S. but only about 206,000 women.

Here are some of those 206,00 women, telling their stories.

A Day in the Life of a Woman in Construction, written by Ana Taveras, a graduate of Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), which prepares, trains, and places women in careers in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades.

Twenty Questions for Women in Construction was a series of blog posts about female construction workers in NYC which ran on Huffington Post in 2013.

California’s Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) oversees an impressive building construction trades apprenticeship program. Here are the stories of apprentices Elena Talley and Frankie Roy.

5 Things I’ve Learned as a Female Working in Construction, posted by QueenAnneBoleynTudor at the online magazine Sunny Skyz.

I Was a Female Construction Worker For A Summer, And It Was The Best Job I’ve Ever Had, by Allie Ruhl at the online magazine Lala.

Patricia Valoy was not the typical worker when she began her apprenticeship at a construction site in college. As a woman of color, she is rare among construction workers: women make up just 2.6 percent of all employees in construction and extraction jobs, and about three-quarters of those women are white. So begins What It’s Like To Be One Of The Only Female Construction Workers In America in the online magazine Think Progress.

Into No Woman’s Land, War Stories of a Female Construction Worker is a book-length memoir by Amy R. Farrell about her life in heavy construction.