Last October, in the explosive early days of the #MeToo movement, you may have read some version of this headline: “Survey finds sexism persists in the automotive industry.”
That survey was Automotive News’ Project XX, which asked approximately 900 women about their experiences with feedback and promotion, harassment and safety, inclusion, and unconscious bias. Despite Project XX’s large scope and remarkable findings, the survey failed to reach the pinnacles of virality and achieve the mainstream traction of similar reports about gender discrimination in the technology, media, and entertainment industries.
Perhaps this is because most people have already made up their minds, one way or another, about sexism in the car business. Indeed, many of the ledes in articles about Project XX characterize discrimination as “not exactly a breaking news story” or something “still alive.” Whether they’re well aware of the problem, believe the issue has been overblown by “social justice warriors,” or have experienced sexism firsthand, members of the automotive industry seem to believe they already know what to think.
But did you know that, according to Project XX…
- 43% of women believe they’ve been passed over for promotions because of their gender?
- 63% feel they’ve been excluded from important business events because of their gender?
- 84% have heard demeaning comments from male colleagues?
- 64% have been asked to do lower-level tasks their male counterparts were not asked to do?
- on average, women in the automotive industry experience more sexual advances and feel less safe than women in Silicon Valley, advertising, or market research?
This is not a matter of “business as usual,” but an ongoing crisis that demands swift and immediate action. Discrimination against women is hurting the automotive industry as a whole. It’s causing people to feel unsafe, raising legal risks, and driving away customers and potential female leaders.
So, where do we go from here? What can we all do to address the issue and move the industry forward?
As luck would have it, our Legal Content Product Manager, Kynzie Sims, will be answering those very questions as a keynote panelist at the June 2018 Women in Automotive Conference in Orlando.
The panel, titled “Hot Topics: How We Fit in and Where We Go from Here,” will be moderated by Jody DeVere, CEO of AskPatty.com. Kynzie will be joining Mary Beth Vander Schaaf (Managing Editor, Automotive News) and Candice Crane (Chief Talent Officer, Walser Automotive) to discuss the current climate, the findings from Project XX above, and steps every dealership can take to make their organizations happier, safer, more inclusive places.
To learn more about Women in Automotive, see the full conference agenda, and register for the conference, click here. Hopefully, this marks the beginning of the next era in the auto industry—because we could all stand to see some new headlines.