One of the major issues that has been facing the motor industry since its inception has been the issue of gender imbalance. In no other retail sector is the ratio of men to women so high. This was acknowledged some years ago when Julia Muir started the Automotive 30% club with ‘the aim of filling at least 30% of key leadership roles in the member organisations with diverse women by 2030.’
Things are moving and a number of organisations have made progress with more women than ever filling senior roles but there is still a long way to go. Julia, alongside Linda Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of Peugeot, lead the IMI’s working group on gender as part of the EDI Task Force. This group explored ways in which women could not only be encouraged to join the sector but also come into a structure in which they could thrive.
The Institute has renewed its efforts to drive this change and is now partnering with the Automotive 30% club to gain the attention of women and demonstrate not only do they have a place in the industry, but it is somewhere they can fulfil their professional and personal lives without sacrificing either.
With the support of Phil Yorke, the Global Marketing Director of Peugeot the IMI has launched a teaser of its upcoming Perception Campaign, which aims to break down negative views of the motor industry. The initial results are showing a strong engagement with the messages we are putting out, especially those that illustrate the real-life roles that people play and their experience of the sector.
The industry needs to continue to change its culture into one where women feel comfortable working. As was said in the Task Force report, culture is not an independent variable, you can’t simply change culture you have to change the things that make up that culture. Issues like long working hours that are not family friendly make it unacceptable to women who may have primary caring roles.
There is a need for there to be more female role models in the sector and for these women who have succeeded and are succeeding to be recognised by not only the industry but more widely. To support this the IMI is integrating the Automotive 30% Club’s Inspiring Automotive Woman Award into its Annual Dinner and Awards to be held on 13th March next year. We are looking for people to think of women in the industry who have inspired them and if appropriate for them to be nominated as part of this award process. There is still a long way to go but the IMI is committed to making positive change for women in our sector.
This article is care of IMI magazine