Ford widened its efforts to address gender representation gaps by responding to the reported ‘hyper-masculinity’ of car communications and inviting aspiring female journalists to produce Mustang Mach-E content.
In an industry employing a majority male workforce, Ford’s female employee mix has doubled from six per cent 20 years ago. Enhanced maternity leave, and other externally-recognised family-friendly and flexible work arrangements, have attracted and retained increasingly diverse employees – helping Ford to be named one of the 50 best places to work.
This year around International Women’s Day, Ford threw its weight behind improving the gender balance in another sector, in an effort to produce Mustang Mach-E stories appealing to a broader cross-section of customers.
While around half of driving licences are held by women, the proportion of females reviewing cars is a single figure percentage of total auto journalists. Research conducted by digital marketplace AutoTrader found an overwhelming majority of Brits felt disconnected from car marketing, with almost three quarters (73 per cent) agreeing that advertising can perpetuate gender stereotypes, or be directed to men.
To produce Mustang Mach-E content from an exclusively female group of content creators, Ford partnered with AutoTrader editorial director Erin Baker to run the first of a 2022 ‘Women Drive’ series, offering training places to rising female journalists at classroom workshops and time behind the wheel.
A group of 12 bloggers, social influencers and other content creators took part in ‘Women Drive Electric’ – first learning written reporting and video presenting skills, and then driving Mustang Mach-Es to the UK’s only dedicated electric forecourt near Braintree, in Essex.
“The more we can do to produce car content for women by women, the more we will help to improve consumer awareness of the 2030 switch to all-electric new cars, which is lower among women than men,” said Erin Baker, who wrote Why aren't women buying electric cars? | AutoTrader.
“The rise of social, and the relative ease of developing an online audience – paired with the electrification and connectivity revolutions – make it great timing for new commentators to write about automotive and avoid the ‘hyper-masculinity’ and jargon of times gone by.”