Today is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter. International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women—while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance.
Repair is for everyone. But the reality is, the world of tech is not yet equal. 34 percent of iFixit’s employees are female, and nearly half of our leadership roles are filled by women. That’s pretty good for a tech company, but there’s always room to do better.
Writer Gloria Steinem once said, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
The growing e-waste problem is a human rights issue, and repair is the best way to prevent it. We can’t conquer e-waste without making repair accessible to everyone, and these awesome women of iFixit are tackling stereotypes about repair—and the gender gap—head-on.
Megan Costello: Assistant Parts Testing Lead
Biggest barrier for women in tech and advice for other female fixers: The most obvious barrier is the notion that women don’t know what they’re doing. When I went to go buy the brake pads for my car, the salesperson insisted on selling me the most expensive pads he had—even though I knew the exact ones I wanted. To combat this type of resistance, you have to do your homework. Look at YouTube tutorials & iFixit guides before you jump into a repair so you know what you’re talking about.
Kristen Gismondi: Education Facilitator
Female fixer role model: Kari Byron from Mythbusters. I started watching this show as a teen, and remember thinking how cool it was to see a badass female on a science show that had a male majority. I think it’s super important to have representation, especially for younger audiences.
Sabrina Steeg: Kitting Manager
Special Talent: Kitting Tornado
Latest fix: My last repair was the one I made an iFixit guide for. I replaced the seal of my motorcycle’s fuel tap.
Sam Lionheart: Lead Teardown Engineer
Hobbies: Reading, drawing, sewing/costuming
Biggest barrier for women in tech and advice for other female fixers: I think you should totally ask for help, it’s better than not repairing at all, but you should do the work yourself. Don’t let a kindly friend take over, you learn so much more when you do it yourself. Let them help you, don’t help them, you know?
Cynthia Replogle: Attorney
Do you consider yourself a techie? Not really. I was an aerospace engineer but don’t know much about computers.
Biggest barrier for women in tech: Lack of role models. It’s easier to think maybe I can do it if I see another non-techie woman do it successfully.
Athina Pilitsidou: EU Customer Support
Hobby: Music is my passion—that’s why I love to DJ.
How do you use your Pro Tech? Mainly for household appliances, like the coffee machine, where the screws have to be tightened. Or for my daughter’s toys.
Dorothea Kessler: Communications Manager
Hobbies: Can handle two cats while playing The Witcher 3 (proved that in early 2019).
Do you consider yourself a techie? What’s your technical background, if any? Not. At. All. I’m fascinated by how electronics work, but I never thought I’d be able to deal with fixing a device myself. iFixit changed my mind for the better!
Lena Aumann: Wholesale/Bookkeeping
Do you consider yourself a techie? Yes, because I started my working life with selling car parts, and I’m still curious about technology of any kind.
Female fixer role model: My mother! She always tried to fix things or learn to fix them from her dad and brothers.
Sandra: Head of Localization
Hobby: Yoga shoulder stand (sarvangasana)
Biggest barrier for women in tech and advice for other female fixers: From my experience, I’d say that women are usually more patient—and they also seem to be quite talented for dealing with very tiny, tricky little thingies. So I’d say that they have that advantage over men as beginners, so don’t be afraid!
Claire Rapp: Translator and Event Manager
Do you consider yourself a techie? Well, I’ve always fixed clothes and small home appliances, but nothing traditionally “techie.” When I started at iFixit and made my first tech repairs, I was quite surprised at how similar the requirements were: appropriate tools and instructions (and some patience).
Midori Doi: Japanese Translator/PR
Favorite Pastimes: Cooking Japanese food, PiYo, interior design (always inspired by Joanna Gaines :)
Biggest barrier to repair: The biggest barrier is the social ideology to keep buying a new thing when stuff breaks. We need to bring back our habit when repair was the first solution.
Jen Wiens: Company Chef
Favorite Pastimes: Endurance sports, furniture building, cheese making, homesteading
Do you consider yourself a techie? Nope! I used to test iFixit guides to see if the “average” person could do it.
Latest repairs: I do a lot of drywall repair. I just replaced my iPhone screen and rewired my space heater.
Jasmin Schütz: Social Media Intern, iFixit EU
Biggest barrier for women in tech: Tech repair is still a male domain, and almost every woman needs to demonstrate that she is able to cope with “technical stuff” before being accepted. This is exhausting. And most men don’t need to face this struggle when joining a repair community.
Brittany McCrigler: Director of Education Services
Hobbies: Solar physics, puppet-making, comics, cooking (and eating!), sewing, power-tool-weilding, backpacking…all the things.
Advice for other female fixers: I’d say the hardest part is not to let whatever/whoever is making it harder for you get to you. My advice for women who want to join the community is to know that we’re all just like you—we’re insecure, learning, curious, concerned, etc.—we’ve all been there, and you have every right to be here too. More than that, we need you.
Sue-Lyn: Customer Service Representative + Staff Photographer
First repair: My first repair was fixing my pedal extenders while driving on a major highway. I noticed it coming loose—so it was incredibly anxiety-inducing. Luckily, I was able to pull over safely—and I had the tools under my seat to tighten the pedal on the spot.
Advice for other female fixers: My first piece of advice I provide to customers is: You’re already looking at our website, which means that you’re interested in what this repair. You’re showing up—that’s half the battle. That alone should be celebrated.
Kay-Kay Clapp: Director of Communications
Advice for other female fixers: Haters gonna hate—don’t let’em bring you down. Kelsea and I were two of the first people in the world to take apart the iPhone XS Max—and we did it live on 2 hours of sleep. I remember reading a few pickups that remarked they were “shocked” that two women could do it and explain the components so professionally. I don’t take offense, I see this as an opportunity to flip the script.
Kelsea Weber: Outreach Coordinator + Video Host
Hobbies: I’m a beach bum with a passion for propagating succulents.
Advice for other female fixers: Many will try to underestimate you, but if you take ownership over your happiness and success, others will see it as confidence and respect you for it.
Elise Barsch: Social Media Manager and Copywriter
Hobbies: Watching too much TV, sharing articles with my friends that may or may not be relevant to them, and talking about feelings.
Advice for other female fixers: Find other badass women in the community who believe in you and support each other.
Raven McDaniel: QA Tester
Hobbies: Reading, Writing, Games (I DM D&D)
Advice for other female fixers: For the repair side, my advice is: The thing is already broken. You already can’t use it, or can’t use it right. The worst thing that happens is that you continue to not be able to use it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. For the tech side, my advice is: Just remember, the first programmer was a woman.