Almost every part of the automotive industry has been male-dominated since cars were first invented. In fact, if you were to name a few sectors where women have historically been under-represented, the sector will definitely make the list.
In the past, the idea of female mechanics, technicians, or vehicle designers wasn’t even a possibility, but in Africa, women are increasingly carving out a niche for themselves in the auto industry- a space that’s traditionally thought to be reserved for only men.
They are not only stepping up as leaders and technical experts but, at the same time, inspiring the next generation of African women. Meet 5 of the amazing ladies who are steering the auto industry in Africa
Sandra holds the title of the first female mechanic in Nigeria according to the Nigerian Centenary Book.
Demonstrating her willingness to empower women, she founded Lady Mechanic Initiative where she’s trained over seven hundred women to be the best mechanics in Nigeria.
Since her interest in cars developed at a young age, Sandra launched the Lady Mechanic After-School Club, with the support of MacArthur Foundation-Chicago, to support other young females who desire to venture into the auto industry.
In terms of recognition, she has been featured on CNN World News in 2004 and 2011 to increase awareness about the program around the world. Former President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2010, presented her with Nigeria at 50 Award, named ‘Nigerian Women, The Journey So Far,’ in New York, United States of America.
She is also the recipient of the ‘WIDA Awards for Humanity’ in appreciation of her remarkable contributions to humanity as well as an award from ASHOKA Foundation.
Sandra holds the ISPCAN Honorary Membership Certificate and is a member of the Ikoyi Club, the National Society of Women Council, and is a graduate at EDC, Pan Atlantic University.
Not only is Marcia the first black female franchise executive to represent Ford and Mazda in South Africa, but she’s also the first in the history of the automotive industry in the region.
She began her career as a trainee at Barloworld Truck Hire since 1997, and eventually rose to become the company’s first black female operations manager.
Marcia was elected Vice President of the National Car Dealers Association (NADA) and hopes to contribute to the development of women in the auto industry in the capacity.
Having achieved a lot so far, she is set to pave the way, ensuring that the automotive industry becomes appealing to more women.
Marcia has received many accolades one of which is the Volkswagen South Africa’s prestigious Club of Excellence award.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Benin and a Master’s degree in Geoinformatics Technology from the University of Lagos, Oduwa aims to revamp the image of the Independent Automotive Repair Industry by offering quality automotive service.
Through her position as the Executive Director of Nenis Foundation, a non-profit organization that partners with Nenis Engineering Limited, she realizes her goal as a social entrepreneur by changing the lives of women through entrepreneurship, technical vocation, and educational engineering.
In addition to being a licensed Engineer with the Nigerian Council for the Regulation of Engineering (COREN), her expertise and passion for engineering have made her speak on international platforms and also take part in global engineering conferences and congresses in the United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland, France, Rwanda, Ethiopia.
She is a member of various national and international engineering organizations. Currently, she serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
She actively promotes more women’s participation in STEM-related industries, grooming the next generation of women auto engineers and technicians in Nigeria.
In line with her mission to educate, enlighten, empower and foster women’s inclusiveness in Engineering projects and disciplines, she cofounded Autolady Inspire Foundation, a non-profit organization.
The foundation, in collaboration with the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Nenis Foundation, has launched a girl-focused mechanical engineering advocacy project called Girls Auto Squad (GAS).
Over the years, she has empowered over 170 mechanics in Abuja, Nigeria with skill development and entrepreneurship training opportunities.
Chantelle serves as the Plant Quality General Manager at Nissan Motor Corporation. She has spent over a decade at Nissan and understands the complexities of building a vehicle due to her engineering background.
In a space where females’ assertiveness can get them tagged as being emotional, and their confidence is mistaken for cheekiness, women like these and many more continue to surmount challenges successfully, making a name for themselves in the auto industry.