Each year, International Women’s Day (IWD) serves to remind everyone of the necessity for a gender balanced society – and in particular – gender balanced workplaces.
While the automotive Industry still has a long way to go before achieving this balance, Women in Automotive (WinA) aims to stand as a starting point for this change.
One of the ways WinA strives to ensure gender parity in the automotive industry is through hosting events such as this year’s Women in Automotive International Women’s Day Breakfast.
This year’s WinA IWD event featured a Motorsports theme, starring a panel of some of the finest talent currently gracing the industry, including:
- Jessica Dane (COO and Co-Owner of Triple Eight Race Engineering and Chair of Australian Women in Motorsport)
- Molly Taylor (Australian Rally Champion, and TCR driver)
- Kate Peck (RPM Co-Host and Network 10 reporter).
With tickets selling out three weeks in advance, the industry response to the event has been fantastic!
Each panellist represented a different career path or opportunity within Motorsports, allowing for the panel discussion to cover a vast range of topics; from what inspired or guided their choice to follow the careers they’ve chosen, to what more needs to be done to encourage and support women within the industry. In a case study conducted by the Australian government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the findings show that women aren’t overly keen to apply for roles in this field due to a lack of life balance, an unattractive work environment and a perceived inability to further advance in their careers. The panellists were quick to discuss these perceptions, and how they align with or contradict their own experiences.
When asked about the financial benefits of gender balanced workplaces, Kate Peck commented, “(Who) wouldn’t want to make an extra 21% more profit? Get the chicks involved! No brainer.” Kate’s comment was in reference to the statistics found in WinA’s smart business guidebook, How to Attract, Recruit, and Retain Women in the Australian Automotive Industry, available for free download at womeninautomotive.com.au.
Speaking to the success of the event, WinA Manager Dr. Imogen Reid commented, “This year’s International Women’s Day theme ‘Each for Equal’ resonates with the work of Women in Automotive, where we seek to galvanise both men and women to address gender discrepancies and support women working in the automotive industry.
We received an overwhelming response to our recent IWD event, with tickets selling out three weeks in advance. This just highlights the incredible appetite by industry to engage and work towards improving the gender imbalance that exists across the industry.
Women in Automotive is going from strength to strength – evidenced by our fast-growing membership base and broad industry support.”
Working in collaboration with WinA, the IWD Breakfast also served as the relaunch of Motorsport Australia’s Girls on Track program, derived from the successful Dare to be Different initiative first launched in Europe. Girls on Track was created to inspire young women to consider a career in engineering, technology and other motorsport-related professions. Coincidentally, each of the WinA IWD Breakfast panellists are also ambassadors for Girls on Track. “I’m lucky enough to have been exposed from a young age and that was what seeded my passion, but I’ve had to prove that I deserve to be there.” Jessica Dane commented when discussing the Girls on Track initiative.
VACC CEO Geoff Gwilym also praised the event, commenting, “The importance of celebrating International Women’s Day is ever present, especially in the more traditional trades that have typically attracted men. Women in Automotive is one of the leading advocacy groups for women in the industry, and VACC holds the work of Women in Automotive very highly. We are very proud of the industry response to this event in particular and it was highly encouraging to see the room jam packed with guests, eager to hear from these industry leaders.”
If you would like to get involved with or learn more about Women in Automotive, you can sign up to become a WinA member for free at womeninautomotive.com.au.
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