Next Tuesday is recognized as Women’s Equality Day; a local car dealership is marking the occasion by making it easier for women to be automotive technicians with separate accommodations.
WMNF News’ Seán Kinane interviewed Rob Elder, president of Elder Automotive Group based in Tampa.
“Pretty much jobs in the automotive world in general are very, very tight [for women]. The obstacles are numerous from not having theown proper facilities for the technicians — if we are just talking about technicians – but to have technicians to change, to wash up they need separate locker rooms, things of that nature. That’s always been obstacles throughout the last couple of years when it comes to women and being technicians.”
And your business is trying to make access to that position of female automotive technician more equal for women, is that right?
“That’s correct. When we just built brand new Ford dealership, actually, we built a separate locker room for female technicians that encompass lockers, you know washing things, things of that nature. So they have their own locker room that they can change in and things of that nature.”
And you are doing this in coordination — or at least it’s coincidental with — Women’s Equality Day. What is Women’s Equality Day?
“Women’s Equality Day is making sure that women are getting the right shot at every job equally as much as men can get. There is a reason why there is a history behind why we are so focused on women: our owner, Irma Elder, was the first woman car dealer in Detroit, Michigan and actually she was the first woman car dealer in the United States. She was a housewife and her husband passed away in 1983. And every person said that there is no way a woman can do it and Ford Motor Company said, ‘no, we think a woman can do it.’ And they taught her the business, they backed her, they put the money behind her to teach her everything.
“And since then, she’s grown to have eleven car dealerships. And she has been on the Federal Reserve Board. She donates to over three hundred charities, she sits on thirty-seven boards, over the past ten years they have had books written about her. So we feel that woman can do anything a man can do and she is the prime reason. Our leader has shown that women can do anything men can do.”