Chaya Milchtein

Photo by Malia Howell.

As an automotive educator, Chaya Milchtein finds the most rewarding aspect of her work to be helping women and queer folks take charge of their four-wheel vehicles. “When I teach the complicated subject of cars to people and they feel empowered because of it, I feel like all the hard work is worth it,” she tells GO. It’s all part of the mission of her company Mechanic Shop Femme, an online empowerment and education platform that offers automotive classes as well as coaching and consulting on all things car-related, from quick-fixes to mechanic intervention. She offers her services on a sliding scale to accommodate all budgets while also earning a fair wage. “I’m a strong believer in community support and mutual aid,” Milchtein says. “There are no wealth tests or anything like that; the sliding scale is based on people self-designating. I strongly believe that all people are inherently good and honest.” Milchtein further shakes up notions of the typical automotive expert by proudly bringing the “femme” into Mechanic Shop Femme — her website includes articles and resources on lifestyle and plus-size fashion in addition to automotive expertise. But it’s really cars that take center stage — or rather, the power that cars afford — which Milchtein wants to give more people access to. “Without a quality, properly running car, job options in most cities are limited,” she says. “Working requires more time and energy to get to if you don’t have a car [and] limits the hours you can work and the amount of jobs you can work at the same time.” —RK

Click here to see all 100 amazing women from this year’s class of Women We Love!

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