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Aspiring female motoring journalists in the UK get help from Porsche

To help solve the gender imbalance in the automotive media industry

Have you ever wondered how many female motoring journalists are out there? PHOTO FROM PORSCHE

In late 2021, Porsche Cars Great Britain developed a program that would help bring more aspiring female journalists into close contact with automotive industry professionals. This was brought about after the distributor noticed that women, despite accounting for more than half of driving-license holders in the world, are severely underrepresented in motoring media.

They called the initiative “We Drive,” and it is a truly unique workshop that provides expert advice and hands-on media experience. It was set to inspire the next generation of writers and video creatives, and offered them a chance to refine their skills and foster new working relationships. According to Rory Lumsdon, the company’s public relations director, a vital aspect of the program was to encourage future content with a greater focus on the female audience, saying that “whether it’s a male or female journalist, cars tend to be reviewed in a very masculine way,” and that the idea is to help make content that is tailored to better engage with women.

Turning this vision into reality required the help of Erin Baker, Auto Trader UK’s editorial director. A seasoned motoring journalist, she is one of Britain’s most highly regarded voices in its automotive media scene. Baker herself is a staunch advocate of greater representation, and actually wrote a piece asking, “Where are all the women car journalists?”

The UK launch of the Macan was covered by the female attendees of the program. PHOTO FROM PORSCHE

Porsche timed the first event of the workshop to run with the launch of the Macan, which is the model of choice by a huge number of female Brits. It ran for two days, and there were workshop sessions with Baker and other notable professionals from relevant industries, plus of course the chance to get behind the wheel of a brand-new Porsche vehicle.

The workshop was met with much enthusiasm from women that come from a wide variety of social and professional backgrounds from all over the UK and beyond. The program’s continued support and guidance after the event actually resulted in some participants scoring permanent positions within the industry.

The title of the program is “deliberately inclusive,” shared Lumsdon. It is not a pro-journalist or a pro-women project. Rather, it is about assisting in solving the gender imbalance or the lack of diversity in the automotive world. “We want others to follow our example, too.”

The idea for it was born after the automaker found out that of the about 250 motoring journalists in the UK, only fewer than 20 are women. Here in the Philippines, after asking my colleagues for a working ratio, I was given a list that had 17 names, including mine, of female motoring media members. It may be a little bit more than that, but the point is that it is a small number. So, like Erin Baker, I would want to know: Where are all the Filipina automotive journalists at?

The author has always been passionate about motoring. PHOTO BY XERES ACOSTA

We need to break the bias and the stereotypes that females are forced to face on a daily basis. It is not merely just a call for the strengthening of feminism, but also a challenge to achieve gender equality—which is the crux of the movement. It is my good fortune to be working in this industry alongside men who are supportive and welcoming, and I hope that the future would hold a bigger space for females not only for this industry but also for everyone who sees and values women as vital members of the workforce.

Xeres Acosta

Xeres was previously a motoring columnist for a newspaper. Her love of driving and cars has brought her here. She used to shoot a YouTube show inside her car a decade ago.