Key Factors Advancing Women in Motorsport

Key Factors Advancing Women in Motorsport

Key factors advancing Women in Motorsport feature defining where focus needs to be most effective to enable forward progression of women riders, drivers and racers- present and beyond to fulfill personal and professional goals on and off the track. From girls learning new skills at grass-roots events, to females racing at National Championships, to women competing on the world stage- goals are set on what each wants to achieve in their chosen sport- and how to do it.

Katherine Prumm (now Oberlin-Brown) winning WMX GP Sweden 2006

Plans are put in place, results come and motivation to improve and develop skills are key elements to make the transition from amateur to professional female athlete. So to are curve balls. Gaining financial backing in times of economic turbulence has been the hardest challenge for women to conquer in a world where competition for slice of financial pie is tighter than ever.

Equally challenging has been gaining entry to race disciplines within Championships whose priority goes to male competitors- their presence raises audience engagement pre-during and post racing. Which begs the question- how do Women gain advancement in Motorsport- now and in the future?

#1 Foremost, passion and determination to reach short-and-long term goals takes hard work, commitment, and self-belief in ability to develop as a rider, driver or racer all the while surrounded by supportive family, friends, Brands and sponsors. Furthermore, encouragement from role models, clubs and organizations help develop network of people who back an athlete’s vision to accomplish goals on the track.

Cristina Gutierrez competing in 2022 Dakar Rally Image: ASO

In recent years, both FIM and FIA have supported programmes within selected number from 112 National Federations to provide opportunities for younger generations to try ‘go-kart driving’, ‘ride a bike’ and experience training camps as well as selection for further development as a female racer at International level.

#2 A key indicator for attracting girls to Motorsport was stated in the FIM-FIA Women in Motorsport Conference in 2019, to provide non-bias opportunities and access for females to race and work in the Motorsport industry. In real terms this means, event organizations to open race regulations which shift the paradigm to increase gender balance as in the case of Extreme E Series regs of one-female-one-male driver per Team entry. Or, Formula One’s inclusion of all female WSeries as support category at selected F1 GP’s.

#3 Media and marketing of Women in Motorsport requires total overhaul on allocating prime-time viewing of female athletes pre-during and post racing. Live TV broadcasts of Women racing followed by back stories on who these women are in person generates diversity of coverage which aligns with social change.

The line drawn between sport and politics, between sport and social issues of equality, between sport and sustainability to race has been blurred forever. Motorsport can no longer isolate women riders, drivers, and racers to the fringes of Media reports, nor can Motorsport separate the industry from public outcry on creating greater gender balance in all aspects of life.

Ana Carrasco enters 2022 Moto3 Championship Image: Team BOE SKX

#4 Unified efforts to advance women in Motorsport generate alliances whose principles of conduct have not only been etched on the track, but now on who gets to race. From a social perspective, these partnerships widen the lens on how sport can offer captive audience inspiration and motivation to achieve set goals. Simultaneously, from professional perspective, these co-operative entities provide tangible evidence of inclusivity of women in Motorsport to global audience.

Advancing Women in Motorsport requires perceptive response by those in the industry on issues which hinder female progression on and off the track. Sure, each step achieved by girls, females and women competing at grass roots level right up to International racing, combined with Federations initiatives have opened pathways for greater female inclusion, there is still a long way to go. Not least, getting the message out on what has been accomplished and what needs to be done to all willing to listen.

Header Photo: Lynn Valk Image: KW Photography.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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