Hosting the FIM 1st Women in Motorsports Conference
As a woman in Motorsports when I first heard of the FIM joint initiative with FIA to hold the conference I thought it was a brilliant idea. I was approached to participate as a speaker because of my background as the 1st Female Team Manager in the Moto2 class (2010, G22 Holiday Gym Racing) and I was later asked if I would consider hosting the conference. It was a historic moment for all women in the industry and was such an honor to be considered to speak about something that is so close to my heart, that I had to say yet right away. It has now been a year since the conference and looking back on it wanted to take the time to share my thoughts on it.
We were all aware that there had been an increase in numbers of women in the industry in the past few years but always felt scattered and rather disconnected. Being able to gather the women, to share our collective experiences and realised that many have faced the same struggles, it provided us with the chance to address them and start the conversation on how we can make it possible for the next generation of young women to be a part of the racing world.
Women have been involved in racing for many years but perhaps the more visible ones have been the grid alongside the rider and bikes on the starting grid. A role that is purely to showcase the sponsor logos as part of marketing support platform, but there are many other women involved in very different aspect of the sport. In the past decade alone, we have seen women step up to mechanic, engineer and even managerial roles, like in my case specifically when I became the first every Moto2 Female Team Manager back in 2010.
One of the main conclusions that I believe we all agreed upon at the end of the conference is the importance of educating the young generations, to not assign roles according to gender and to promote the sport at a young age for both meal and females. Parents play a key role in order to make a real change and what comes to mind is the personal experience of several of the female riders. They stated that when they were young, they would hear the parents of fellow male riders say that if they were to be slower than “the girl”, they would be in trouble. This comes to prove that the measure is not talent but rather a matter of gender superiority which shouldn’t be the case. Yes, we have physical differences later on in life between men and women when we grow up but not at an early stage when children first get introduced to the sport.
One of the things that stuck with me from the conference is that women are judged not based on potential but on actual results, they have to prove they deserve the chance as opposed to men who are judged on the potential and talent they might develop. It is a double standard that does not only apply to female riders but also to women in all aspects of motorsports. I do believe that the industry has opened up and is welcoming to women that are willing to put in the work and prove they have their place in the sport. I would end by saying that I would really like to see more females in managerial roles in team or factory development project in the future. Currently women have a public relation, guest management and coordination roles that are essential for the team to function but I would be interested to see a woman heading a MotoGP.
Let’s not limit the future generation but rather open up the way to young talent wether male or female and make the sport the best it can be together.