A Nissan concept car called 'Blade Glider' during the 14th edition of the Dubai International Motor Show at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Dubai - Industry experts would want to see more women in key positions across the sector
Anyone that still thinks that the automotive industry is a man's world today will be surprised after taking a closer look at the evolving role that women are taking in the industry, experts at Dubai International Motor Show 2017 said on Thursday.
Speaking at the live talk, Yota Baron, finance controller for Ford MEA, agreed that the motor industry is still dominated by male figures, but that more women are entering the industry in various fields and different positions. "Women are decision makers, even if they are not buying the car themselves," she pointed out. "Manufacturers are looking at incorporating what women need and look for into their cars. Look at mirrors on the driver's side. Even from a motoring and racing point of view you see more women in engineering, mechanics, and even administrative roles."
Offering her advice to young women interested in entering the field, she said: "You need to understand the business and the products, as they are ever changing. You are always challenged to be on the top of your game, but that is what makes it fun."
Baron was joined by Fiona Smith, quality director at Ford MEA, who reminisced that women have to constantly prove that they belong, but noted that times are changing so that women are now considered to be part of the team.
Both women agreed that they would like to see more women in senior positions in the industry, such as in the board room. They also noted that having women in senior positions is important because it provides a model for more young women who want to enter the industry. Younger women are more eager to enter an industry where they see other women in different positions, they said.
"Young women come up to me and ask me to mentor them," Smith said. "Many feel that they are being judged, so offering advice and a shoulder to lean on helps them with self-confidence. But above all, you have to have an interest in the field that you are working in, because that is what is necessary to doing business and being good at your job."
"You need to be technically smart," Baron agreed. "Once you get in, learn as much as you can and learn from industry leaders. Don't be shy about going and finding a mentor; no one is going to say no I can't help you."
"Don't assume that men are judging you, because it will make you paranoid and eat at you, and ultimately impact your performance. Be reliable," Smith stressed.