Balqees Bani Hani has always been around cars and has been fascinated with them since she was a young girl. Her deepest passion has always been cars and she dreamt of someday breaking cultural taboos and run her own repair garage.
Balqees has a degree in business and finance, which she could easily put to use and make more money. But as a keen businesswoman and auto enthusiast, she identified a niche that would fill a very big void in Jordanian society.
Balqees noticed that many Jordanian women were reluctant to buy cars for a couple of reasons.
The main reason is that many women could not afford late model cars which would have less mechanical issues. Mechanical issues require the women to bring their cars to a male-dominated area of Amman called Irbid. These zones are entirely inhabited by men and can make the women quite uncomfortable.
In order to alleviate women's stress about situations like this limiting their ability to drive, she went and did what no other woman has ever done in Jordan. She opened the first women-run, for-women-only auto repair garage.
While this may seem like a direct challenge to the culture in her community, Balqees stresses that she has no aim to change society or her community. She says from the initial encouragement she received from her family, especially her father, down to male mechanics in the craftsman zone, her idea has been received positively.
She says that she only attended a six-month auto mechanic course at the local technical university and that while she realizes this may not be enough schooling to make her a master mechanic, it is a good start and she looks forward to learning more on-the-job.
Balqees is a mother of two and she has a positive message to the women of the world. Balqees says that any woman wanting to put a new idea into action should not feel constrained by societal norms and pressures. She stands to say that even the Jordanian society is open to new ideas, much more so than in the past.
In years gone by, it would have been unthinkable for a woman in Jordan to operate a business such as this in an entirely male-dominated industry such as this, but wants to reiterate by example that times have changed and hope her story inspires other women in the Middle East, and across the world, to no longer be held back by what they believe as cultural restraints. Push on! Follow your dreams and don't look back.