Tag Archives: drivers

Why blogging matters to small businesses

We’ll soon be merging this blog with the News and Information section of our website. Our various blog topics have all grown like Topsy but from 2018 FOXY Lady Blogs will be posted HERE, to make it easier for our readers.

FOXY Lady blog is critical to getting our message across. In our new Blog Section you’ll find a blog post explaining why we write what we do and how our blog reflects our strategic business plans. It’s all part of our ‘drive’ (pardon the pun) to get what we do to a wider audience as part of an affordable and measurable PR plan.

To raise awareness about the Club, I started the FOXY Lady blog in March 2008, writing for and about women drivers.

It’s not a sexy read and I doubt it’ll make it to the top of a busy female’s ‘must read’ blog list but if women want to know about motoring they stand a chance of finding useful insider information here, with their best interests at heart, when they need it most. Or decide to join the Club for 1:1 support of course.

Writing about motoring for women is certainly a perilous path to tread (some prefer simple and lightweight content whereas others find that approach patronising…) but I do this to amplify the Club’s key messages and for a whole raft of good business reasons.


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Treating men and women differently

genderWhen you touch on or even mention any gender related subject, such as running a motoring club for women as I do, I accept I won’t please everyone.

Maybe it’s the competitive or tribal nature of our society or inadequacies in our education system but we seem to be increasingly ruled by a politically correct agenda. One that makes judgements for us, regardless of our freedom of choice, based on often emotional and limiting views to do with equality and feminism.

I am not sure why this lobby should trump our freedom of choice as genders but anecdotal research tells me that many think equality means treating boys and girls/men and women the same.

It also seems that the word feminism has a very bad (and unfair) reputation in some male and female minds.

I now detect a new undercurrent, thought by men and women alike it seems, that women should ‘man’ up and stop (being portrayed in the media perhaps) whining and be exposed to the same criticism as men. My context here is motoring of course, where the irony of this is profound after women drivers have been the source of criticism for years…

But fair or not, it’s simply wrong to lump an entire gender into one for convenience, as age, marital status and many other factors affect our lives. To label us all as bad drivers when patently some are and most aren’t is clearly wrong. And, needless to say, despite the PC wish to treat us us all the same, women are not the same as men so this will NEVER work.

Women, families and careers

Just over 20 years ago I was a Director in a corporate world who knew she needed to be better than most men to get on in her career. So she did what it took to get to the Board and it cost her a marriage. Then came the family years, when she tried to balance a full time job, a new relationship, studying for an Executive MBA whilst looking after a step-teenager and toddler. Unsurprisingly she couldn’t do it all, her health finally suffered and one way or another this led her ie me to working for myself.

The story is much more complicated than that of course but my abiding memory is of a man who I wanted to impress at work in the early days. When he finally complimented me on some work I’d done he concluded by saying I could consider myself ‘an honorary male’. That’s when loud warning bells started to ring. Was this what I really wanted to hear? It wasn’t of course but many females seem to think they need to outbloke the guys to scale the corporate ladder.

Equal rights, equality and feminism

I never wanted to be a Queen Bee in any boardroom, I just wanted to demonstrate and flex my ability to good effect and have this recognised. But it isn’t easy being female in a male world where men set the agenda and we’re expected to follow it. This is more evident than ever in the masculine motor industry and if you don’t work in it or have experience of this, trust me, it’s different from any other environment I have known. Question the male status quo and you can be seen as tricky…

One thing my ‘honorary male’ experience instilled in me from that day onwards was a love of equal rights, equality and feminism – each of them relevant and supportive in different situations.

Let’s start with the easiest one of these. I imagine that most reasonable individuals, regardless of gender, believe in equal rights when it comes to pay, jobs, education, training, opportunities and parenting responsibilities. Now, reread this previous sentence using the word ‘feminism’ instead of ‘equal rights.’ and you have my definition of feminism. And if you think about this, it benefits men as much as women, particularly in the area of parental responsibilities. So why is feminism so maligned?

And whilst it is tempting to venture down the route that suggests equality is good for all this ignores the fact that boys and girls are as different as men and women remain in later life. Thank goodness for that! And because girls, boys, men and women aren’t the same as each other either we mustn’t try to pigeon-hole each other into ‘pink and frilly’ or ‘distinguished and mechanical’ stereotypes either.

Let us be who we are, not what others think we should be…

The PC lobby

I was reminded about all this when I posted some Government stats about women being the safer motoring gender (ratio of young men:women drivers causing death or serious accidents 2:1 in 2013) in this comments section. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/11317822/Government-drink-driving-ads-must-show-women-behind-the-wheel.html

It appears to some that if you stick up for your gender, you are to be dismissed as suffering from misandry or misogyny. And that if you don’t stick up for your gender, this is being called balanced? What utter nonsense.

What a shame it is that some men and women earnestly believe that we should all be treated the same regardless of our differences. Especially knowing the educational outcomes of teaching boys and girls separately – where the boys blossom as a result. Or where girls might choose to play with dolls not fire engines? Or boys with cars not dolls?

In short, why not let girls be girls and boys be boys or vice versa if that’s what THEY want? I don’t see the fuss here.

Gender and motoring

I was interested to read an article about this that Erin Baker wrote this weekend in The Telegraph’s Cars supplement. She acknowledges having taken an overly harsh view of ‘weak’ women drivers in a previous Womens Hour interview but now admits to having some off days herself in this respect.

Welcome to the female motoring world Erin where honesty is what women usually do best. I’m not saying that women have weaknesses thrust upon them that men don’t but it’s my experience that being a new mum, bereaved, divorced, or involved in an accident or road rage incident undoubtedly affects confidence levels when driving. And if this isn’t a gender issue, then women seem more likely to admit to this than men.

Wasn’t it just recently that a women was killed in a car park in this country because a male motorist literally fought her for a car park space?

I’d much prefer us to take the heat out of gender-based debates to do with motoring and have a truce based on facts and some degree of mutual compassion even.

Let’s start by admitting that some women are better drivers than men and vice versa… That’s fair and balanced isn’t it?

Then let’s get this in proportion. Yes an increasing number of women are committing offences, causing accidents and drinking and driving but there are still more men than women doing this (and the numbers/mileage covered is getting ever closer…).

Why not name and shame the bad motorists in future? Our local police told our local newspaper about a lady that was prosecuted for drink driving, for example?

But let’s remember that the motor industry is one of the last male bastions in many female minds, deterring women from being the regular customers and employees our garages and car dealers need.

It’s simply wrong that so many females still feel the need to take a man with them to haggle a deal for a new car. Or that so many of us still feel the need to ask a man to test drive a car for us or take it to the garage instead of us?

Yes you could tell women to ‘man’ up but the industry as as much to blame for not being more female friendly here..

And with the number of women drivers about to exceed the number of men on UK roads (in 2-3 years they say), this is surely a wake up call for this industry to respond to the female business case?

After all, we’re increasingly wealthy, independent and demanding ie it isn’t just me that expects higher standards in terms of quality, value, cleanliness and customer services (than many garages and car dealers offer).

Making a female motoring choice

“By walking the female [business] path you end up making things better for women AND men.” Paco Underhill, author of ‘What Women Want’ 2010

If some women want to save money, be better informed about their motoring choices and enjoy access to cheaper car insurance and cars as well as friendly support services (which FOXY Lady Drivers Club offer in terms of driver training, ongoing practical advice and women’s garage evenings) surely they should be able to enjoy this without being made to feel weak or inferior in any way?

But if this approach doesn’t appeal to you (maybe you think that better rates and a helping hand for women drivers are patronising gestures in some way) rest assured you don’t have to join FOXY Lady Drivers Club! Although if you did, you could help me do a better job for other females by sharing/contributing your know how to mutual female benefit*.

In short, please have a heart when it comes to women drivers in the year ahead. We’re doing our best to make things better in motoring circles for females – as I see it, male motorists will then benefit from our raising the quality and services bar for all!


*Providing you NEVER take a stance that rubbishes women drivers un-specifically (yes some deserve reprimanding as do some men but let’s be specific not emotional) or unfairly. That is my unspoken rule – to encourage women towards being better drivers by using the carrot not the stick approach.

Pushy car salesmen are a female turn off

female new car shoppingDidn’t the automotive industry see us women coming? That’s the gender buying the cars of course as in influencing between 80-90% of all new cars bought? And if not, why not?

I’d suggest this is because few women are as happy as they should be with the traditional car shopping haggling experience in dealerships.

This is what car buying compare and contrast service CarWow found after carrying out a recent survey.

1/ 77% of women are put off by a pushy salesperson.
2/ 33% of women are put off by long waiting times for car delivery in a dealership.
3/ 36% of women were annoyed by the lack of knowledge displayed by too many showroom staff.


These are all the reasons why we introduced our FOXY Lady Approved new car network. To identify the businesses that are getting service levels right for women drivers versus those that simply think they should treat men and women the same.

But these findings confirm that treating men and women the same is not good enough guys. Clearly we expect more. Hadn’t you realised women are different? Just spend some time thinking who does the shopping in your family and how he or she goes about this compared to you…

It’s also the case that women working in the UK car industry are rarely like women that aren’t because they’ve got used to cars, working in a masculine environment and jumping into/driving new cars without a second thought.

But without wanting to be seen to patronise the growing number of women who know more about cars and their workings than many men, most of us are happy to admit we know little about cars and garage services. Which is why we need and rely on professionals getting things right for us – we expect to be understood and treated with respect as a minimum. And because we’re increasingly spening our money or influencing where he spends his…

And if you think this is a one-off gender attention-seeking survey think again. Check out the recent Good Housekeeping survey re car dealerships perhaps. Or talk to us at FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

This is not what women should be thinking after a recent car shopping experience. But, looking on the bright side, this does mark a BIG opportunity for those genuinely female friendly businesses to promote their female friendly services to women thus stealing a lead over lesser and complacent others.

Thank you for this CarWow.


Know any young drivers with disabilities?

Mobility_Roadshow_femaleGet Going Live! is a fantastic test-driving opportunity for young and novice drivers with disabilities to try out the best specialist vehicles on offer.

This is part of the Mobility Roadshow being held at Donington Park in Derbyshire between 25 to 27 June 2015.

I didn’t know that young drivers with a disability can get their driving license a year earlier than most ie at the age of 16.

Which is why Get Going Live! concentrates on those from the age of 15 and over that are keen to get behind the wheel of an accessible or adapted car.

All young visitors are invited to attend the show with their families to find out the latest advice, specialist driving tuition and specialist vehicles on offer.

Whether individuals use wheelchairs or not, Get Going Live! offers the opportunity to test drive vehicles around the historic and exciting Donington Park Motorsport circuit for free. This track is the location for the British Motorcycle Grand Prix and British Touring Car Championship so this is always a really exciting experience for young attendees.

Specialist professionals in dual-control vehicles will accompany every young driver, so they stay safe during each test drive.

Leading motor manufacturers include Ford, Vauxhall and Hyundai with their range of specialist vehicles on display in the exhibition hall and on the test track.

We recommend you pre-register for a test drive and get further information from www.mobilityroadshow.co.uk

Dumbbell time for women

I was interested in this study which seems to suggest that men are more competitive than women in areas other than just motoring…

But that some women might do as well as men, if not better (!) in the long term.

It also seems as if there might be something we can do about this weighty gender difference!

And if you haven’t guessed already, we’re looking at dietary matters here – not driving differences as you might imagine.

Do men lose weight more easily than women?

After a scientific study to compare male and female participants following a variety of diets (Atkin’s, SlimFast, Rosemary Conley and Weight-Watchers) Dr Sally Norton suggests that men beat the women hands-down for initial weight loss.

After 2 months, men had lost twice as much weight as women – however, their weight loss slowed over the following months, suggesting women were more likely to stick with the new eating regime for longer.

A recent review of 49 studies on the subject found only a small difference in weight loss between the sexes – but it was in favour of the men.

Why do men lose weight more easily than women?

It’s not just one reason. In the same way that weight-gain is due to many factors, weight-loss is influenced by many different factors too and these may affect men and women differently…

+ Most men are bigger than most women to start with.

Men, on the whole, are bigger than women – and the bigger you are, the more energy you burn just by moving around or, even just by sitting on the sofa, doing nothing much more than existing! Their basal metabolic rate is greater….and as basal metabolic rate accounts for about 70% of the energy we burn every day, you can see why they may have a head-start. All they need to do is cut down their intake a bit, and their greater energy-burning capacity means quick results.

+ Men have more muscle.

Men tend to have more muscle (fat-free mass) than women – and bodies with higher muscle composition burn more energy. What’s more, as we get older our muscle mass reduces (by about 8% per decade over the age of 40) – a condition known as sarcopenia…which may help explain why our ability to lose weight is affected by our age as well as our sex.

When we think of exercising to lose weight, we often think of aerobic exercise – pounding the treadmill, brisk walking, swimming. Studies show, however, that people who engage in mixed forms of exercise, adding resistance training to aerobic, tend to lose more weight…especially around the waist where it is associated with more health problems.

It makes sense for women to challenge the men for the dumbbells and build a bit of muscle in their own right!

+ Men are less involved in food preparation

A sweeping generalisation, of course, and I know many men who do all the cooking at home (not mine, sadly!)…

Why are women less likely to diet like men?

+ It’s often the women who prepare and dish out the food to children and partners, giving her more time and opportunity to pick. Those ‘forgotten’ calories soon add up.

+ Women are at home more

Women are more likely to work at home than men and to spend less time away from home than men. We know that over 2/3rds of women are wage-earners with around half of those working part-time for a whole host of reasons including family commitments and overheads.

This puts many women closer to the biscuit barrel and therefore more susceptible to snacking during the working day.

In contrast, men who are busy at work with no easy access to the family fridge or snacking cupboard seem less able to feed hunger pangs in between meals.

+ Women are more likely to be emotional eaters.

Another generalisation, I know, but my years of sitting in clinic back up research that shows that women are more likely to comfort eat, snack out of boredom or frustration or eat for many reasons other than hunger.

Many men, in contrast, seem to just over-indulge in pints and portions!

It can be easier to address simple habits than the underlying stresses and emotions that may drive over-eating; and many diets fail to do anything other than restrict food intake.

At the end of the day – male or female – what can we all do?


We can’t fight our XX chromosomes but we can make some changes to maintain a healthy weight. Our basal metabolic rate may account for 70% of our energy expenditure but that still leaves 30% in our control… and that comes down to our activity.

1/ Keep on-the-go, taking every opportunity to move, and the energy burnt will soon clock up.

2/ Given the choice, walk don’t drive…

3/ Add in some muscle-building exercise too and you will not only look slimmer, but burn more calories even when you put your feet up afterwards!

4/ Look at your diet. Have a sustaining breakfast like porridge to last you through till lunch (or eat it for lunch if the afternoon is a low point for your energy levels).

5/ Banish the biscuit barrel in favour of healthy snacks like fruit, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

6/ Finally, look at ‘when’ and ‘why’ you are eating as well as ‘what’.  Is it guilt-eating or stress from trying to juggle a job and family… and failing to do both as well as you think you should? Take steps to address those underlying issues as well as ensuring you have covered the basics of portion control and eating real, non-processed food.

This is a guest blog by Dr Sally Norton, a UK leading health expert who founded www.vavista.com with the intention of helping people eat better to then live and work better as a direct response.

To interview Dr Sally Norton please email Teresa Dadey or phone 0750 2111 217