Successful Women in the Automotive Industry


When it comes to choosing careers, women are usually expected to opt for industries like fashion designing, cosmetology, and other things that most women are into. And if there are industries where women were under-represented throughout time, one of them is probably the automotive industry. It’s because when people hear about the jobs of assembling and fixing cars, many would say that it’s a man’s job, or it’s not fit for women.

Despite the predetermined thinking about the gender division of labor, especially in the automotive industry, there are a few individuals who have challenged the status-quo throughout time. And these women were able to pave the way for a more liberal view on the matter today. This is the reason why in the present time, there are now more opportunities for women in once male-dominated sectors, like working in the automotive industry.

If you’re a woman and you have a passion for automotive things, then you can easily pursue that by going to automotive engineering schools, race car driving school or even top business schools. If you are looking for more inspirations to push through with your dream, then here are some of the successful women in the automotive industry that might encourage you.

Charlotte Bridgwood

The vehicles that we drive today are equipped with automatic windshield wipers, which help us see the road clearly when it rains. In fact, without it, it’s difficult to imagine how to drive properly. But did you know that back at the beginning of the 20th century, people drive their vehicles with their window shields unprotected? During that time, the industry was at its start. That’s why there were still lots of aspects to improve when it comes to cars.

But thanks to Charlotte Bridgwood, who started the development of the automatic window shield wiper. In 1917, she took the existing manual wiper model, which was invented by Mary Anderson in 1903, and upgraded it into an automatic version.

The automatic wiper that Charlotte Bridgwood made introduced rollers to smoothen the wiper’s movement on the surface of the windshield. Take note that during that time, cars were still slow machines. This means that an automatic wiper was an invention that is quite ahead of its time. This is the reason why the invention of Charlotte Bridgwood was not patented, and she was not acknowledged as its genuine inventor.

Bertha Benz

The surname Benz is very popular in the automotive industry because of the well-known Mercedes Benz brand. Bertha Benz was the much-admired wife of Carl Benz, the engineer who started the automotive industry with his petroleum-fueled automobile design.

Bertha was born in 1849 in the Ringer family. She was already an accomplished woman from a wealthy family and a graduate of natural science studies. Being a determined woman and a forward-thinker, her acquaintances were shocked when she invested her whole dowry in creating the company of her then-future husband.

In the following years, the young family put their best efforts towards submitting the patent for the automobile. During that time, they faced lots of drawbacks and financial struggles. This is also due to the lack of interest in Carl Benz’s invention.

But even with lots of problems, Bertha did not get discouraged. In fact, she became more determined to prove the value of their product. She then decided to venture on a long-distance trip, which would actually attest that the Benz Patent Motor Car was a profitable concept. In 1888, without Carl knowing, Bertha took two of her sons and put the motor car into function to be able to get to Pforzheim.

The Benz Motor Car was still a work in progress during that time. It means that the long road took its toll on the prototype. However, running out of fuel and clogged pipes did not stop Bertha from pushing through. The good thing about it was that she’s creating a lot of buzz around her brave effort, which fascinated the media. Aside from that, what she did had established a much-needed resource for further developments.

Bertha Benz, aside from being the first woman to have ever taken a ride on a petroleum-fueled automobile, she was also one of the most successful female marketers in the automobile industry.

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick is a Wisconsin native who’s born in 1982. She has grown to virtually build a brand as a prominent figure in the car racing sector. During her high school days, there wasn’t any doubt as to which career she wanted to pursue. That is the reason why she chose to drop out of school and dedicate her time to becoming a professional race driver.

Since then, Danica was able to score her several firsts and records, such as the first female race driver to lead the Indianapolis 500 race in 2005. Aside from that, she’s also the first female winner of the IndyCar circuit in 2008, and as well as the first woman in the pole position at the NASCAR Daytona 500 in 2013.

Aside from the awards that she’d earned, Danica Patrick also has the excellence of making racing popular among a wider variety of female audiences. This is because she’s also a famous model, Super Bowl ad star, and Instagram lifestyle influencer.

Elizabeth Baron

Elizabeth Baron works at Ford Motor Co. as the technical specialist in virtual reality and advanced visualization. The job title sounds really cool, right? But what it means is that she is responsible for managing the Immersive Virtual Environment Lab. This lab enables the designers and engineers to experience a vehicle even before it is built. It is done by using virtual reality technology, where you will be immersed in a photo-realistic environment. This means that Elizabeth Baron is indeed working on advanced and sophisticated stuff in the automotive industry.

Mary Barra

Mary Barra is one of the most iconic women in the automotive industry. She’s the first female CEO of a Big 8 automaker. And before being a CEO, she also served as Executive Vice President, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, and as Senior Vice President. In these roles, Mary was responsible for the engineering, program management, design, and quality of General Motors vehicles all over the world.

The General Motor’s CEO was also referred to as the most powerful woman in business in 2017 based on Fortune Magazine. Mary Barra’s company is on the top innovators’ list when GM committed to going 100% on the electric cars’ route. And aside from her discipline and vision in the automotive industry, she is also active in the community life of Detroit. She raises remarkable amounts of money for charities and school programs.

These are some of the most successful women in the automotive industry. Even though the automotive industry is a place where women have to deal with gender stereotypes constantly, it is also where women can prove their vision and strength. We hope the information we shared was able to inspire you in entering the automotive industry.

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