Meet the woman doing ‘men’s work’. The number of female mechanics in Europe is slowly increasing, but currently Croatia only has one fully registered female mechanic. That honour belongs to Irena Petir…
Irena, who has been in the business for 26 years after following in the footsteps of her grandfather and father, has found her calling in a job usually ‘reserved for men’.
“Back in my day (My parents) did not even want to enroll me in secondary school because I would have been the only girl in the whole school, ” Irena told RTL, adding that she first developed a love for fixing cars when she would play in her father’s mechanic garage as a kid.
“I used to say dad give me that, give me this, show me that, show me how to do this… Mum didn’t like it because I was always dirty,” said Irena, recalling how she first got into the trade which was for men.
Today Petir and her husband, who is also a mechanic, operate a garage in Zagreb.
“From 8am – 4pm we are just colleagues. We can argue at times at work, but when it is 4pm we close the garage and go home as husband and wife,” Irena says, adding that their 6-year-old daughter is already showing a keen interest in cars.
So are customers sceptical when they turn up to the garage and are greeted by a woman?
“When customers come in off the street and see me they look a bit concerned, but they have got used to it now. However, there are still those who see me and then turn around and leave,” she says.
Most customers do however leave Irena’s garage satisfied and return again.
(photo / screenshot)