Inspiration Just Isn’t Enough!
The gender gap in Automotive is not a gap at all; it’s a canyon. Catalyst Knowledge Centre of Information states that women occupy only 26.6 percent of positions in the automotive manufacturing industry and only 16.9% of executives in vehicle manufacturing. Even more staggering, only 1/5 employees in dealerships are women, yet nearly 65% of car buyers are women. That’s not a gap; it’s a canyon.
I noticed an increase in participation from automotive brands this year in spreading inspirational messaging on International Women’s Day (IWD). Here are a few examples:
Hyundai’s IWD Video shows a woman in the driver seat.
Mac Laren’s video show’s their female employees talking about the experience of working at Mac Laren and their future career ambitions
Mercedes pulled together an inspirational video called ‘iconic You’ and has branded it ‘She’s Mercedes’; to highlight a few.
International Women’s Day Ad’s aren’t Enough!
While it’s good to show our support on International Women’s day, the critical question becomes where is that support every day of the year? Why aren’t we giving more females a seat at the table all year long? And is IWD a clever marketing pitch to make automotive brands appear to support gender equality.
Messaging like the Mercedes’ “motivational” Iconic You Video makes you feel good and is a definite message that is moving the industry in the right direction. With that being said I hate even to mutter the words ‘ I don’t want automotive brands to do that’ just as we are ‘turning a corner’; any awareness brought to the movement of women in automotive is positive. However, awareness and inspiration aren’t enough; the conversation has to move into action. Automotive brands have to ask themselves, what’s next? How are we going to keep this conversation alive outside of this one day each year? Furthermore, what is our commitment to increasing women’s footprint in our dealerships and at the Corporate/OEM level?
The World is Ready, why isn’t Automotive?
In the last few weeks I have read the following headlines;
Canada’s Royal Mounted Police just appointed their first female chief.
Deputy Gina Haspel will take over, becoming the first woman to lead the CIA.
The nation’s currency will feature its first Canadian Women
Women around the world are being put into positions of power by leaders ready to take action rather than sit on the hope of an inspirational message, and if the leaders of the world are prepared to take a stance, why is the Automotive Industry lagging behind?
What is the Automotive Industry Waiting for?
Why wait? The future is coming, whether we like it or not. The purchase share of women around the world will continue to rise, and with the lack of women at the table, decisions will remain to be made by men, delivered by men, for men. Continuing to lead in this manner will proceed to affect dealerships lack of or decrease in loyalty, retention, referrals, and overall top line dollar. It’s in your best interest to be ready to serve the women who are purchasing your vehicles; every day of the year!