But the mechanical sector in the country has been changing albeit slowly with a few female mechanics dedicating themselves to breaking the odds provided that they can be outstanding at their work.
26-year-old Lilian Wanjiku Murugi is one such lady whose services are sought-after by high-end vehicle owners in Nairobi.
One of her clients is President Uhuru Kenyattaâ€™s motorcade. She particularly repairs and services the BMW Police Chase Bikes and other vehicles owned by the government.
Her journey of breaking into a male-dominated industry began from a small shade in Dandora where she used to sell spare parts. It is at that time when she got really interested in the motor vehicle industry.
â€œI started selling motor vehicle spare parts at Dandora Juakali. That is when I opened up about venturing into this field. It was really fun,â€ Murugi said during an interview with KTN.
Murugi also added that she repaired Maina Kageni’s BMW X6 and another vehicle owned by KNUT boss, Wilson Sossion when the vehicles were just getting into Kenya’s market.
Her profession, however, has denied her the benefit of having female friends. She says that they are usually looking down on her since the industry involves getting oily and dirty.
â€œI don’t have female friends. Women nowadays do not want to be dirty. When we meet I talk about engines and car spare parts which most of them are never interested in.
“I don’t have manicures, pedicures or salon-fixed hair, unlike other ladies. We would not have much to talk about,” Murugi explained.
She has been working as a mechanic at Simba Corporation Salon Car Units for over two years now. It is at this car unit that the president’s motorcade is often repaired.
According to Murugi, removing tires gives her an upper hand over her male colleagues.
â€œWhat I like most is removing the tires. Customers get surprised by that since they feel that I am small and the wheel is very big,” said Murugi.
Despite having mastered the art of dealing with high-end vehicles and having people like the president as clients, Murugi lives in a humble one-bedroomed house in Githurai with her son and an adopted daughter.
According to her colleagues, Murugi is now operating at the same level as the male mechanics and there is no favoritism when assigning roles.
After selling spare parts in Githuria, she decided to enroll at a local college to expand her skill and motor vehicle knowledge, studying automotive engineering.
Prior to joining college, she had also been working as a mechanic, a skill she had gotten by observing her friends.
Her ultimate dream is that she would one day have her own mechanic center and employ as many female mechanics as possible.