A new collective called Women in Automotive New Zealand has been formed to encourage more women to join the automotive industry.
Its purpose is to bring together a group of influential organisations within the automotive sector with the common goal of increasing women’s participation, as well as advancing them into leadership roles.
As of last year, approximately 16.9 per cent of the automotive industry was made up of female workers, while 6 per cent of apprentices were women. These are numbers in which Women in Automotive New Zealand wants to see increase.
“Increasing the participation and advancement of women in automotive is not just the right thing to do, we know that diverse teams drive better business outcomes,” the collective states.
Natasha Callister, founding member of Women in Automotive New Zealand, says that it didn’t take her long to realise how under-represented women were in the industry when she entered it in 2019.
“As I engaged with businesses throughout the sector they began sharing with me the challenges they faced in trying to recruit women to work within their organisations and also in attracting female clientele,” she said.
“Business owners wanted to understand how they could make their vehicle dealerships and workshop environments more inviting and comfortable, with many understanding that increasing the representation of women was not just the right thing to do but it also made smart business sense.
”For me personally a large part of my career has been in male dominated industries and I am also a full-time working mother of two young children so I know first-hand the challenges women can face but also the tools, support frameworks and strategies that have helped me progress my career into senior levels.”
Callister said this was the reason she felt she could take on such a challenge and thus, formed the collective through her networks across the sector.
Women in Automotive New Zealand’s partners include NZME’s Driven, MITO – Te Pūkenga, Motor Trade Association (MTA), Motor Industry Association (MIA), Otago Polytechnic – Te Pūkenga, and the NZ Collision Repair Association.