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Women ‘should join motor industry’

The issue of encouraging more women to join the motor industry is a long-running one. Despite high-profile cases of women rising to the very top of the trade - such as Mary Barra's CEO-ship of General Motors - it's still seen as a male-dominated industry where women still struggle for recognition and reward.

Changing the industry

SIMI, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, has been trying over the years to change this fact and perception. At its annual [email protected] event (now in its eighth year), SIMI president Antonia Hendron said: "It's wonderful to see so many successful women here from different sectors of our Industry. Our Industry is an area where female employee have been historically under-represented, and I am pleased to say this is changing. The SIMI's Management board has changed in composition with a representation of six female leaders now sitting at the boardroom table and I am honoured to stand before you today as your President."

According to Ms Hendron, such events are vital, as "professional women can have the opportunity to network and learn from each other as well as hearing from other successful people of different backgrounds and industries."

"By being forced out of my comfort zone, it has led me to meet and make some incredible connections and friends from across the Motor Industry," said Ms Hendron.

Encouraging expression

The gathering was addressed by guest speakers from other industries, including Louise Grubb, CEO of Trivium Vet, a life science entrepreneur, with a track record in founding successful businesses. Ms Grubb told the attendees of the importance of: "Thinking outside of the box to create new opportunities, encouraging your team to express themselves, while been prepared to pivot when the road ahead changes, but above all don't be afraid to take that opportunity to start in the first place."

Public transport safety

The event was also addressed by Norah Casey, award-winning TV and broadcast journalist, entrepreneur, and human rights campaigner, who said: "It's not what I did in my life that changed me, it's what life did to me. Negativity can propel you, but look inside yourself and you will find the resilience to move forward. Don't be afraid to create something new and different. There is a women's agenda around cars that needs to be articulated, there needs to be a strategy about it, because it is incredibly important to us. There is no public transport that replaces the safety that cars give to women."

Derek McDermott, Managing Director of Bank of Ireland Finance, commented, "We are making good strides for women in both the Motor and Banking industries. Bank of Ireland was the first Irish bank to publish a Gender Pay Gap Report in 2020 which highlights the percentage difference between what men and women are paid on average. This year, the Bank introduced a menopause support policy that includes paid leave. This will help us continue to build a work environment in which everyone is treated with fairness, dignity, and respect. These are really important initiatives, but I would argue that there is still a long way to go in the whole area of gender diversity and in ensuring that there are strong opportunities for women across both industries. '[email protected]' represents an important event for women in the Motor Industry and one we are very proud to sponsor."

Published on May 4, 2023
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