Much to my surprise and pride I picked up the Online Business Woman of the Year Award last Friday in Arundel on behalf of FOXY Lady Drivers Club.
Being an online business I’ve been more used to online Award competitions nominating occasional accolades by email.
On this occasion it felt so much more special and rewarding as it involved talking to local hero and Awards compere Sally Gunnell whilst giving me the opportunity to explain FOXY’s philosophy, on behalf of women drivers, on the night.
I remember being asked at a Mumpreneurs Networking meeting in Lewes earlier that day if I had a speech ready, should FOXY win. ‘Not a chance’ was my honest verdict and fairly obviously, to all there on the night, I didn’t have a speech rehearsed!
As it happened, the Online Business Award category was sponsored by CapGemini, a huge company that specialises in business consultancy, technology and outsourcing services and their Senior Manager, Kevin Reed, handed over the impressive certificate on the night.
I have since read up about Capgemini’s ambitions to recruit more women into IT, echoing FOXY’s efforts to do the same to attract women into the motor industry. With young women outperforming young men at GCSE level in STEM subjects the potential for female talent is obvious but clearly few STEM-related industries are managing to get a female friendly career message across to young women.
As I see it, the message that careers in IT and the motor industry are equally challenging and rewarding for either gender is one that needs making early on in education. Both sexes need to understand the benefits of working together – a business partnership as in marriage, each have complementary strengths and talents to bring to the table. And this message must include students’ parents who are key influencers but often seem to hold old-fashioned and stereotypical views about masculine industries being forbidden zones for females to enter. Far from the truth!
Let’s hope there is something that FOXY and Capgemini might do together to challenge this gender thinking in future…