Ford’s European CEO, Barb Samardzich has called upon businesses to embrace gender equality and to attract more women into the engineering sector and the car industry.
Speaking at the Autocar Great British Women in the Car Industry awards on Friday (8 July), Samardzich gave her keynote speech calling for a change to stereotyping of engineers and highlighting all the inspirational women that could be found within the industry.
Speaking at the awards, Samardzich said, “Today is about celebrating the talent of today and how we can use that talent, all of you, to change our industry, to deliver a more equal and consequently more profitable future.”
Continuing, she said, “It is up to all of us in this room to showcase the talents we have, to break through the glass ceiling, but not only that, to provide young women with a true picture of the scale, opportunity and frankly the sheer glamour of what we do.”
Addressing the stereotypes of the engineering industry, she said the image of an engineer was “a man holding a greasy wrench or spanner.” She added that, “somewhere along the line in the UK, the value, the kudos, the skill of being an engineer has gotten lost.”
Closing her speech, she said, “This is about attracting and releasing the incredible talent around us. Women across the globe, who if they chose to join our sector, have the skills, ambition and ability to transform the industry that creates and manufactures the car, the greatest consumer product ever made.”
The Autocar Great British Women in the Car Industry awards celebrated the top 100 British women in the global car industry. Winners included Linda Jackson, Citroën’s global CEO; Claire Williams, deputy team principal, Williams F1; and Danella Bagnall, F-PACE Chief Product Engineer for Jaguar Land Rover.
Speaking of the awards, Jim Holder, Autocar editorial director, said, “We have started this event to stimulate debate about the attractiveness of the industry we love as a place to work for everyone. At present, women are underrepresented in the automotive industry, but it is our belief that a positive focus on the numerous opportunities that a career in the industry can offer can have a real impact in reversing that trend.”
View the full list of 100 winners here.