Jordan's First Female Mechanic Empowers Middle Eastern Women

Mending spirits one car at a time

Jan 26, 2018
Balqees Bani Hani checks the life of a car battery at her newly-opened Zahreh Garage in Irbid, northern Jordan, Jan. 21, 2018.

Balqees Bani Hani checks the life of a car battery at her newly-opened Zahreh Garage in Irbid, northern Jordan, Jan. 21, 2018. (Taylor Luck/Christian Science Monitor)

Balqees Bani Hani's car garage in Irbid, some 80 kilometers north of the Jordanian capital Amman, might look just like any other car garage in the area, but there is a major detail that sets it apart from the rest. Bani Hani is the country's first commercial female car mechanic and her garage is the only one catering exclusively to women.



Since her childhood, Bani Hani has been fascinated with cars and how they work, and years later, after initially studying finance and banking, the 34-year-old mother of two decided it was time to realize her dream of opening the first female-run garage in Jordan.

Bani Hani stresses that she doesn't mean to challenge the norms of society, but rather to provide women with a place where they could feel comfortable getting their cars fixed. With the encouragement of her family and friends, she opened her garage in November of 2017.

The single mother focuses on helping female drivers repair their cars, feel safer on the roads, and empower them to purchase any car they’d like. “Many women avoid buying old cars because they fear that it will need a lot of care and they will be forced to visit the craftsman zones frequently."

"But, at the same time, they cannot afford to buy modern cars. Now that this garage is open, they should not be worried about the type of car they purchase,” she said. Balqees isn’t just providing a service to women in need, she’s also setting an example in her community that middle eastern females like her, deserve to feel safe and pursue their passions.

Rising prices and unemployment numbers in the poor Kingdom, have in recent years led to a rethinking of traditional roles of men and women. Motivated by the good pay, hundreds of Jordanian women are entering male-dominated fields and becoming plumbers, car mechanics, taxi drivers, electricians, and gas station attendants.

Today, there are dozens of female plumbers working in Jordan and Bani Hani is already selecting female engineering graduates to train at her garage as car mechanics, who will later become her first full-time employees.

Thanks to trailblazers like Bani Hani who are proving that women are just as capable as men, women across Jordan, and hopefully the entire Middle East, will soon live in societies that empower them to utilize their full potential.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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