In its otherwise brilliant trade magazine for the automotive industry, my attention was halted by this all male photograph in the February issue of Car Dealer.
Apparently these are the 14 white men who are the Automotive Influencers otherwise described as ‘the people who shape the car market’ with a view to 2016.
Let’s be clear about this. These are said to be the guys who are the ultimate influencers of last year’s car sales of approximately 2.5 million brand new cars and 7 million used cars?
Of which 80% of these sales are said to be ‘influenced’ by women ie 2 million brand new cars alone…
But who clearly aren’t represented at the top of the industry? So there you have it – visual evidence of the gender divide.
The men who tell women what they can have and should buy. Versus the women who are telling the industry, time and time again, that they aren’t as happy as they could be with the cars on offer (in terms of the shopping experience as in cars, manufacturer communications, dealer service levels and so on).
Now why is it that the women aren’t happy enough? I know because they tell me and I read surveys about this of course. But could it be that the men at the top aren’t listening or understanding that men and women are different at car shopping time and that many women want MORE than is on offer? Don’t their wives tell them this?
And why is it that too many ambitious women and talented young females are choosing other industries for their careers, not ours? It’s because they can’t see ANY place in our future, looking at photographs like this one. Not one out of 14… why should they be expected to battle against these odds when they don’t have to in other industries?
Help make the car industry more female friendly
Come on Car Dealer. Let’s have women on your strategic agenda with a view to the future. You are a powerful influencer within the industry after all. Yes it’s good to see Sophie back in Editorial but you also need a Female SUIT. Let’s have tomorrow’s female role models in next year’s Influencers and a regular feature in between so we’re not forgotten. Not just women as a token sideshow at your next dealer event? That isn’t good enough.
Let’s listen to more of what needs to be an ongoing business debate about WHO the customer is and WHAT they want rather than who of the Top White Men drinks what brand of coffee or listens to what sort of music in their private life.
The Female Business Case
Having said all this, there are many inspiring male leaders in genuinely female friendly automotive Groups who are actively advancing the Female Business Case, with role models in their Board waiting rooms as part of their strategic agenda. For this has to start at the top, not the bottom of an organisation where most of the women work.
It would be SO good to see more of this inevitable and desirable gender change, to influence other businesses with a view to a better and more profitable future. To encourage aspirational women to speak their mind, unshackled by corporate cultures that equate equality to treating men and women the same as customers.
Yes, of course men and women are equal when it comes to employment issues but this is the MOST important bit, we are not the same when it comes to getting things right for us as customers or when it comes to attracting us as employees for that matter.
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