While businesses have improved in the area of gender equality in the workplace, women are still finding themselves struggling in the auto industry. Automotive News found out through their Project XX survey just how uncomfortable women feel working in the automotive industry.
"We wanted to gather data from women about their actual day-to-day experiences to help start a conversation about what's actually going on for women in this industry," said Sharon Silke Carty, editor at Automotive News. "We were blown away by how honest women were when responding to the survey, because this is a topic that hardly anyone is willing to talk about openly."
How Women in the Auto Industry Feel
For Project XX, Automotive News surveyed almost 900 women across the automotive industry. It found that women, who make up only 24 percent of the automotive workforce according to a 2015 Deloitte study, were still treated unfairly and sexism to be "alive and well." A 2017 NADA workforce study showed the turnover rate for dealership saleswomen in 2016 was 96 percent.
Project XX focused on four main areas:
- Feedback and promotion – Women surveyed said they’ve been told they’re too aggressive (68 percent), too quiet (50 percent), too bossy (62 percent) or too emotional (61 percent), making it hard for them to find the right balance. Around 43 percent believed they'd been passed over for a promotion due to their gender.
- Safety and harassment – One in four women in the industry say they've felt unsafe on the job, an unacceptable number. Many women stated they felt uncomfortable from male co-workers’ comments or actions and didn’t speak up due to fear of being marginalized in the male-dominated environment.
- Inclusion – Project XX found 63 percent of respondents have been excluded from important business events because of their gender, and 57 percent said they missed social and networking outings for the same reason.
- Unconscious bias – Women in the industry are acutely aware of the way prejudice pops up even when not intended. Of the women surveyed: 83 percent said clients and coworkers asked questions to male counterparts they should've received, 71 percent said male colleagues and clients avoid eye contact in meetings, 64 percent are asked to do menial tasks their male coworkers aren't asked to, and 84 percent have heard demeaning comments from men.
A Step in the Right Direction
The women surveyed believe things have improved in the auto industry over the past 30 years. Many hoped this survey would start healthy dialogue between men and women in the industry that'll keep things moving in the right direction.
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