A Look At Initiatives That Break Stereotypes

Who said that mechanics is a world exclusively for men and where is it written that a woman cannot maintain or repair a car, bicycle, or motorcycle?.

The Woman Post | María Consuelo Caicedo Toro

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Nobody said the first and the second are not recorded anywhere! For that reason, Olga Lucía Méndez created Motorella.

Olga Lucía Méndez dreamed of being a teacher because the women in her family always moved between blackboards, students, desks, and classrooms. But there her dreams did not stop, she wanted to open an orphanage to help those most in need, a philanthropic desire that she, in the way she made, came true by helping pregnant adolescent women and victims of domestic violence.

She was born in Colombia, in the department of Santander, where according to popular beliefs "women have such a tough character that they iron their clothes by hand”. 25 years ago, she lost the being who taught her that you should love the land that gave you birth and you have to work for her. Her father, a man who, while he lived, worked for the progress of his region and to get out of ignorance to those who could not read or write.

The story of Olga Lucía Méndez, whom they affectionately call “Luchy”, would take its own course when, at the end of the 90s, she found herself face to face with a traditionally macho world in which she did not think to star. But fate seemed to have its own plans.

The Colombian economic recession at the end of the 90s put this admirable woman to play a leading role to which she stood up with her brother to carry out the company that the head of the family had founded, Proquimsa, an organization that produces greases, lubricating oils, and related products, aimed at the industrial and automotive sectors in which, silently but significantly, employees and clients showed Olga Lucía that they were not convinced that a woman had much to contribute! It is a work that, in popular imaginary, is traditionally for men!

The second generation entered to set the pace

It would not be easy to star in but Olga Lucía, a graduate in market engineering, managed to take the reins of a horse always led by male hands: As she was from the second generation in Proquimsa, everyone expected her to be submissive and abide by traditional norms but she had other plans. “Of course I never forgot the legacy of my father, the founder, but I was a manager in my own way.”

Fate continued to guide the life of this warrior woman and she would take her to the United States where she was able to fulfill those philanthropic dreams by contributing her work in organizations that support adolescent mothers and victims of domestic violence in the Méndez Pinilla Organization.

Colombia was waiting for her

Luchy has 3 sons and she adopted a 12-year-old Colombian girl. She was out of Colombia for a long time but she would return to continue making a difference. Again at the helm of Proquimsa at the request of her family, her restless brain told her that in Santander there was a great void that she would fill in with female strength: “I saw that in the city of Bucaramanga there are many women who drive motorcycles, they drive them. Yes, but they knew nothing about its maintenance. That had to be changed!"

And she, who has been a woman of strong turns in her life, decided to break with the established because who said that mechanics is a world exclusively for men and where is it written that a woman cannot do maintenance or repair a car or a bike? motorcycle? Nobody said the first and the second are not recorded anywhere!

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Thus was born the venture devised by Luchy Méndez, Motorella. "I wanted to serve women through this idea, get them out of a world in which mechanics (men) cheated them, teach them to know the vehicle that transports them and increases their independence."

Motorella does not exclude men, in fact, the manager is one of them: "Unfortunately, the appearance of Covid-19 delayed the progress of this undertaking a bit." However, Luchy took on the task of looking for women in mechanics schools to finish training them online and show the world another face of the car, motorcycle, and bicycle maintenance. Most of them are young, single mothers with many problems and affected self-esteem: “Our service is transparent, we do not deceive anyone, the client (man or woman) always knows what his vehicle has, what type of maintenance will be done or how it will be repaired.”

Pre-opening

Motorella is in the pre-opening phase, it will sell clothing typical of motorcyclists and will have a spa where clients can relax: “Today we are working with 2 mobile units with which we approach women who use motorcycles. If they are stranded, we pick them up at home and, through a cell phone, we show you how the vehicles are, what repair they require, how much it costs and we wait for your authorization to start. I have 4 women mechanics, 2 drivers, and one in the wash. They are all between 22 and 35 years old ”.

Luchy's venture breaks schemes and discards the idea that mechanics should be exclusively men. Santander is one of the most macho departments in Colombia, but this does not stop Olga Lucía Méndez, who not only successfully manages a lubricating grease and oils company, but is also convinced that mechanics implies inclusive dynamics in which men and women can exercise Paired roles with the same efficiency and professionalism.

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