Women on Wheels: Teaching women automotive independence

Ottawa, Ontario — Sept. 3, 2019 — An Ottawa auto repair business’s free car maintenance workshop sessions specifically aimed at women fleeing domestic abuse has filled up to capacity.


The courses, organized by Legacy Auto Centre in conjunction with the Women’s Initiative for Safer Environments, will focus on teaching the basics of car and bike safety and mechanics.


Designed for women who have experienced domestic violence, the program’s goal is to restore a sense of independence and confidence to those with limited resources. 


Always led by a female mechanic, the workshop familiarizes participants with basic procedures like replacing an air filter, changing a flat tire and installing a new windshield wiper. For more complicated fixes, participants are given tips on how to lower quotes and assure a proper repair has been done.


But it’s about more than car repair–the workshops provide a sense of empowerment. According to program director Elsy David, participants often see a transformation when it comes to not only their confidence, but overall independence.


The program teaches how to negotiate a fair deal when buying a new car. Many women report feeling uncomfortable with asserting themselves in the negotiation process, resulting in later discoveries that they paid more than they should for second-hand vehicles. 


Due to the program’s popularity, the Women’s Initiatives for Safer Environments has plans to launch more sessions in the near future.


For more information, visit www.wiseottawa.ca.

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