Smashing gender bias in a male-dominated industry: Story of two sisters who work as tyre technicians to support family

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By: Sarjo Brito

Working in a repair shop, sitting right across the bridge in Tippa garage, two sisters Isatou and Awa Sanneh have taken a route that is barely trodden by women in today’s society. Speaking exclusivity to The Fatu Network, Isatou and Awa said their decision to take up tyre repairing at their father’s workshop was fuelled by the need to support their family.

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“It was not long before we started working at our father’s workshop. Our dad has apprentices, but they are not always around. It is hard for him to do the work all by himself. We told ourselves that we can do the job. He is our father and supporting him would not take away from us. He works 24 hours to support the family,’’ The duo told TFN.

Isatou Sanneh, who is the oldest and a construction student at the Gambia Technical Training Institute, said although they started working with their father to support the family, their passion and love for the job have since grown. Isatou Sanneh called on her fellow women to work hard in order to be independent.

“I do not look at this work as something difficult at all. When I set my sights on something and convinced that it is something good, I make sure to go for it. A job is a job as far as you’re able to earn money and take care of yourself. Do not be ashamed that this is a job that should only be done by men or that people will laugh at you. What matters is to earn clean money that will benefit you when you use it.’’

Pa Sanneh, the duo’s father, said he has done all types of odd work before finally settling on a repair shop. Sanneh said the girls decided to work with him at the shop and praises them for their dedication and love for family.

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“What they are doing is something every woman can learn from. Knowing who you are is waking up every day wearing dirty clothes just to earn a living. In this world we are living today, nobody should wait for anyone to hand you free money. Not even your husband. Every man who is involved with a hardworking woman will respect them. I admire these girls and I’m happy that they are doing this. If Allah wills, peace is all they will ever know.’’

The two sisters called on commercial and private drivers to stop by their workshop at the Tippa Garage bridge if they ever want to fix their tyres as that will go a long way in supporting them and their father, admitting that they will welcome any kind of support as well.

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