“No matter the attitude of your co-workers, there is still the general public out there. There is always shock the first time people hear about your profession. There is always request to explain ‘how come?’ as if there must be an incredible backstory to your choice.
“There is always sexism and misunderstanding to some degree. Much of it comes from the simple fact that a layperson is not familiar with the details of a mechanic’s profession, and you’ve got stereotypes coming in from every corner, doubling when mixed with gender,” says Matongo, who has been with the City of Masvingo as a mechanic for almost 14 years now.
“I have always had a fascination with fixing things. As a teenager who had just finished high school, I thought I should really go for it. As an empowered woman who was not afraid of learning what she is not traditionally taught, I completed my training at Masvingo Poly Technical College.
“I think there are so few women mechanics because it’s a stereotypical male environment, but I plan to change that. There is no reason women can’t do it. It’s not about brute strength. There is a tool for everything. In fact, women have certain characteristics that make them perfect for the trade. Women are dexterous and patient, they have less of a tendency to throw a spanner across the room. To young girls out there I would like to tell you that this is actually quite a cool job. The more women that do it, the more other women will see it as good option.
“In line with all that, women should remain firm and focused in order to achieve their goals in the profession,” Matongo says.