In an era of equal opportunity for all there are sadly plenty of ‘Boys Clubs’ still in existence that either actively or passively exclude women. In my opinion, one of these boys clubs is the automotive journalism sector.
I have been a car girl all my life, but didn’t start reading car magazines until I was about 20 years old. My favourite one at the time was MOTOR magazine from Australia. I subscribed for several years, I regularly emailed the magazine, and every year I applied to be part of their Performance Car of The Year (PCOTY) challenge.
MOTOR would offer one lucky subscriber the opportunity to join them and drive about 20 of the best cars of the year. Of course I was never chosen and every year a guy was. All the writers for MOTOR back then were men and eventually I got fed up, stopped subscribing and stopped reading their magazine altogether because of what I considered male chauvinistic behaviour by the journalists.
For about ten years I didn’t really read any car magazines regularly because I just thought that none of them appreciated that women could love cars to. Then I started reading Top Gear Australia magazine, which was essentially the UK version with a different cover and some Australian stories included. I didn’t read it because of Clarkson, Hammond and May, but for the stories from the real journalists like Ollie Marriage and Sam Philip.
I would regularly email and even call the editor of Top Gear Australia and of course I never received a reply. I was not disappointed when Top Gear Australia was cancelled, but to keep reading the magazine I had to subscribe to the UK edition, which costs over $AUD150 per year.
I’m very observant and each month I read the list of the contributors for the magazine. The only female contributor for Top Gear is Esther Neve who is the Brand Managing Editor. Now I’ll admit I have no idea what a Brand Managing Editor does, but she certainly doesn’t get to drive any of the hot fast cars. Esther’s only contribution that I have seen has been to drive a long term test car, usually something boring and family orientated.
The lack of female writers in the big name car magazines has always annoyed me. It was one of the reasons why I started on my quest to become an automotive journalist and created my youdrivelikeawoman.com blog. My ultimate goal is to have an article I’ve written published in Top Gear Magazine, alongside those who I consider to be the best in the business.
Recently I purchased the 2017 Top Gear Portfolio, which is essentially a compilation of the best photographs from the magazine for the year. Every photograph in the Portfolio was taken by a man and it was linked to a story that was written by a man.
My favourite issue of Top Gear magazine each year is the Speed Week edition. This is the edition where they take the best cars of the year and hoon around; sorry that should be ‘thoroughly test’ them at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. I carefully looked at every photograph from this event and no women were present at the event from what I can tell.
The same thing was evident on a Chris Harris video I watched a while back, I can’t remember what car it was for. There is a shot in the beginning of the video of the press conference where all the journalists are given an overview of the car. I carefully looked again and there were no women there from what I could see. How can this be?
Can it be that there are no women out there who want to drive these cars or be invited to the launch of the latest offerings from the best car manufacturers in the world? I don’t think so; I for one would give more than one vital organ to be part of these events.
For me, it feels like women are being excluded by car companies and magazine editors for some reason? But why? We make up essentially 50% of the world’s population and although the percentage of women who have a true passion for cars is less than that of men, this offers more opportunity for growth. More growth equals more profit people, are you listening car companies and editors?
I know that there are many women out there who love cars as much as I do and there are some prominent female automotive journalists. So why are they not being given the opportunity to write for the biggest car magazines in the world?
I want to be proved wrong that the world of automotive journalism is not in fact a Boys Club. So come on girls, let’s show them that we love cars to and want the same opportunities to participate in the car media sphere as the men do!