It’s For You, Women In The Auto Industry

How often do male drivers assume that the unskillful, clumsy driver in front of them is a lady driver? How often have you come across job advertisements in the auto industry with the requirement “male only”? How many people are actually relating to women in the auto industry within the limited confines of the sexy young lady posing in front of the Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Volvo and the like during an auto exhibition? If you are one of them, wake up and see what is happening beyond your own world.

Back in 1993, a small group of women who were working in the Detroit automotive industry gathered to support one another. The industry, being dominated by males, had no space for women’s voices until then, when the Women’s Automotive Alliance International (WAAI) was founded. WAAI has evolved to become the Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation (AWAF), obtaining its non-profit status with the mission to award scholarships to women who pursue careers in the automotive industry. More and more women are entering the automotive industry and holding a variety of positions and assuming important responsibilities in automotive corporations.

You may think that Asian countries behave differently as they are masculine-inclined? Nissan has announced that the days of male dominated designs are numbered. They now understand that even though women do not see a vehicle as a man does, their input into the industry is impactful. After 3 and a half year of diving into a study about what women want in a car, they have found that women want a vehicle that is beyond a driving tool; they also want an environment to work and live within; many of the features are applicable to men! Nissan is embracing gender equality in their engineering design these days like never before.

Today’s women are shifting gear into the leadership tier of the automotive industry, which has long been male dominated. Elaine Bannon is the main engineer behind the most pivotal car to come out of the Ford brand, the Edge. She graduated from engineering school at the age of 20 during a time when the industry was dominated by men. After 25 years, she has smashed the stereotype male dominated view of the industry to become the Chief Nameplate Engineer of the Edge.

Elaine Bannon, broke through the glass ceiling in the auto industry

Financial Review (6 June 2013) also mentioned that the auto industry seeks for more women employees these days. Muirs Holden, an auto dealer in Australia, has the preference of employing women in their sales team, as providing good customer service with accurate information during the correct time appears to be a strength of theirs. The Financial Review also reported that TNT is gearing to change the demographic and cultural environment of the organisation by increasing the number of female drivers and dock hands to twice the numbers.

We need more women in the auto industry. A research by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence revealed that up to 80% of all automotive purchasing decisions in the US are influenced by women, 65% of the service works are ordered by women, and USD200 billion was spent by women on vehicle purchases and services each year; these indicate that the automotive industry could very well be a ‘woman’s world’. However, only 20% of the overall dealership employees consist of women and only 7% of the front line management, sales and service advisors are women.

A new study by the American Association of University Women revealed that a woman graduate earns wages that is lower by 7% average as compared to her male classmate from the same course. This gap widens as the woman works longer; ultimately, a woman will earn an average of USD1.2 million less than an equally educated man after working for 35 years. According to Heidi Hartmann, President of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, closing that gap could actually stimulate the economy of the US by at least 3% to 4%!

If you are a female worker in the auto industry who has been demoralised by gender inequality, cheer up and move forward now. Realise that you are of utmost importance and is needed in the industry.

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