Meet Rebecca Jackson - a racing driver enjoying her career

Meet Rebecca Jackson - a racing driver enjoying her career

Rebecca Jackson is an inspirational driver that we’ve admired from afar.

She’s a business owner, racing driver, motoring journalist and TV presenter so we wanted to know how she fits all this in and more.

In our interview we asked her how and why she entered the motoring industry, why motorsports is so male-oriented, what can be done to make the automotive industry a more female friendly career destination and for her unique insight and a few tips to share with ambitious and talented women waiting to make into a motoring career in future.

Where did your love for cars come from?

I’ve been absolutely car mad ever since I can remember. My father is an engineer by trade and was an avid classic car enthusiast.

I remember my parents telling me that my first visit to a race track was when I was 6 weeks old, for a race my dad was a part of!

I grew up around cars and motorsport so always knew I wanted a career working with cars in one capacity or another.

I learnt so much from my father and after my business degree at University in Bath decided to combine it with my love of cars!

Should men and women be competing together in motor racing and what can be done to improve female participation?

The average man is stronger than the average woman, therefore I take my physical training very seriously and have managed to build and maintain a level of fitness, strength and stamina that enables me to compete on an even playing field with men, driving a car on the edge of traction without the level of fatigue that would be present if I did not dedicate myself in this way.

Horse riding is a sport where men and women compete together and I think motor racing is similar to that. I think it would send out a negative message if a women only F1 category was created.

The Dare to be Different initiative, which I hold close to my heart, is committed to inspiring female talent in all aspects of the motorsport industry. This is what I believe is needed within the motorsport community.

There is absolutely nothing to stop any talented, ambitious and determined girl or woman from moving into a career in motorsport.

Why are so many Honest John motoring letters from men? And why do so many women delegate car maintenance matters to men?

Women are very much the decision makers today when it comes to changing the family car and conduct a lot of research on the Internet. They discuss cars amongst their circle of friends, family and contacts.

It tends to be more often the men however who take care of the maintenance and servicing affairs. This could be due to tradition and perhaps many women are not interested in this side of things.

There is nothing wrong with that, however any woman that does want to learn about the mechanical side of things, I strongly recommend they seek out the knowledge and they could find it very rewarding.

Why are so few females interested in automotive careers? And what can be done here?

I think some women are put off by careers in automotive because there is a perception that it’s just something women shouldn’t do, or that it will somehow limit a woman’s femininity.

I am very much of the mindset that you should be true to yourself, whether you are male or female, feminine or not. For example, I like to wear makeup and get my nails done and did not stop just because I work in a male dominated industry! And actually you gain respect for this because it’s a sign of confidence, being true to you.

On another note, respect is something you earn in male dominated environments. They are also fun places to be, full of mickey taking and bravado but hey just join in and take the banter in the way it is meant! If I ever do come across a sexist attitude, I rise above it, my trophies speak for themselves and I’ve earned my respect.

A smile will keep you happy and trying to change someone’s opinion will only bring you down, so it’s not worth the energy!

How can the automotive industry, including manufacturers, dealers & garages, become more female friendly?

I think there is a lot of work to be done in this area. I don’t think it’s simply a case of prescribing a list of things. Behaviours, mindsets and business strategies within the industry as a whole need to change.

I read recently that 90% of female consumers would not visit a car dealership without a male partner, friend or family member. And yet they’re the gender influencing most car sales?

Despite women making up 50% of the population, the car industry still positions men as the chief consumers of everything car-related.

The industry needs to do a better job of gender-neutralising the car. When this can be achieved, then patronising marketing and sales activities will stop, leading to a more inclusive and female friendly industry.

In my car business, RJ Prestige Cars, we very much provide a comfortable, relaxed and almost nurturing environment which ensures women feel at ease. When women arrive, they are greeted with a warm friendly smile and treated with respect, as they should be and as the decision maker.

It is not a masculine environment, largely because I own the company and as a woman have a particular vision and culture which I train each member of staff in.

When it comes to the physical environment, the tea and coffee is served in immaculately clean cups, there are toys for the children to play with and everywhere is clean and tidy. When it comes to presenting the car, this is done in a non-pressured jargon free manner so no one is left to feel silly; male or female.

None of this is difficult. It mainly boils down to simply providing an inviting environment rather much like a home, and the sales team members are carefully selected to ensure their personality traits reflect this calm and relaxed alternative way to buy cars.

To keep up to date with Rebecca’s musings on all things cars, be sure to check her
Facebook Page:
Twitter Feed: @RebeccaRacer
Instagram: @rebeccaracer0

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