Tag Archives: role models

Mumsnet Cars share female feedback

Mumsnet and What Car? have joined forces to launch Mumsnet Cars, a car review section of the popular Mumsnet website.

The section includes typical reviews and questions like: “Will it fit three child car seats?” “Is it easy to maintain?” “How much should I be paying for this?” and “Can I fit in my entire family and still have legroom?” along with insight from What Car?.

In a survey of car owners, Mumsnet users were presented with a list of celebrities whose influence might persuade them to buy a car. Despite the list ranging from Kylie to Clarkson to Cameron, nearly half of respondents (48%) said that they would not trust any celebrity recommendation.

In contrast, over three quarters (77%) say that a recommendation from a friend or a relation would be influential.

The Mumsnet survey confirms that car dealerships could be more ethical, that car advertising doesn’t always hit the spot for motoring Mums and that recommendations from friends are more reliable than those of celebrities.

* Nearly half (46%) felt that car dealership sales people aren’t honest
* Only 25% felt they could trust the advice given at car dealerships
* Just over three quarters (77%) find car ads unmemorable, complaining that they all seem the same
* Two out of three (67%) would be influenced by reading a recommendation or a positive review in a car magazine or online from other users
* Half (53%) say that both they and their partner are equally responsible for the researching, planning and the car buying decision for the family car (FOXY note: US research suggests that women influence c90% of car sales)
* 89% of parents responding to the survey agreed that their choice of car has changed as their family needs and lifestyle has changed

Justine Roberts, CEO and Co-Founder of Mumsnet, said:

“When it comes to buying cars, we know that priorities change once people start a family and that parents are looking for safe, economical and practical cars without the hard sell. 80% of our users seek advice or read reviews on Mumsnet when they are planning to buy a child-related product, and judging from the number of car discussions on the site there’s a clear need for similar advice when it comes to cars.”

Hear, hear says FOXY.


Do girls still expect to have it all?

Well done GirlGuiding UK. I have just read some excellent qualitative (ie opinion-based) research about girls’ attitudes to careers and how they might balance this with having a family.

Do they want to be superwomen and have it all or are they better informed about their career choices than we were in the 80s?

I am particularly interested here because young women are steadily achieving better GCSE grades and university results than young men. Industries that benefit from this female talent will be those that the girls choose over others.

Let’s hope this is a wake up call to the motor industry where, at present, only a tiny number of young women are considering a career.

Here are the findings that struck me as most accurate and telling.

Girls attitudes about education and female role models

56% of girls feel that they don’t get enough advice about choosing GCSEs and A levels
57% believe that women have to work much harder than men to succeed
60% are put off a career in engineering because of a lack of female role models

Whilst the likes of Victoria Beckham, Beyonce and Katie Price are quoted as role models, few could recall a female politician other than Margaret Thatcher. Few quoted any role models from male-dominated fields such as engineering, where girls’ professed lack of interest meant that they paid little attention.

Fortunately most girls realise that celebrity status isn’t necessarily real life for everyone and are looking more to their mothers as more relevant role models. This attitude does change as girls get older however; they start looking for external role models more and I can’t think of any big names they are likely to know of in the UK’s motor industry.

What industries are girls most interested in?

The girls in the research explained that they find it difficult to know what careers are available, beyond the obvious ones that attract the youngest, such as teacher, nurse, hairdresser, vet. As they get older, girls become aware that there is a huge variety of careers, but they know little about them and are unsure how to find out more.

Few showed any interest in traditionally ‘male’ careers such as engineering, construction or trades, arguing that this is not what girls like or are interested in. Some would be reluctant to draw attention to themselves by working in this type of field – making the existing gender bias self-perpetuating.

This last sentence is particularly telling and suggests that women don’t want to feel the odd one out in what they perceive to be a male dominated industry.

For the motor industry to figure in this list (and why shouldn’t it or want to be there) the industry needs to have a more female friendly image in the minds of girls, supported by leading businesses that reflect an agenda of diversity at Board level.

This is a tall order indeed if businesses (run by men like the one I spoke to earlier today) think that marketing services differently to women is pointless, regardless of the fact that females are the gender spenders and don’t expect to be treated like men. Could it be that there are businesses that prefer their industry the way it is, regardless of the female business case?

How do girls see combining a career and having children?

‘I want my career before I have children. I don’t want to be one of them [sic] women with eight kids in a flat.’

89% believe that having children would affect their career
69% would consider deferring having children to allow them to follow their perfect career
53% of girls would want to work part-time when their children are young
43% think that girls aspire to be hairdressers because ‘some jobs are more for girls’

These are probably areas that the motor industry could be addressing if it REALLY wants to encourage more women into it.

The most challenging question for me, raised at the end of this research, is how can an increasing range of truly talented females, not just in the motor industry, gain the exposure required for them to become role models for today’s girls and young women. So that their industries attract their fair share of the best young talent, regardless of gender.

FOXY is happy to support this debate on behalf of the UK motor industry in any way it can. We are keen to introduce the UK motor industry and the exciting careers in it to women. To do this we surely need to scotch the rumour (prevalent in so many female minds) that the motor industry is still a male bastion; it needs to be seen as a future career arena for women.

Without more women in the industry, how can we ever get customer service levels to the standards that women customers expect? Women who are the gender spenders remember…

If you would like to know more, why not join the debate on Twitter using #realrolemodels or visit www.girlguiding.org.uk/realrolemodels.