On Tuesday June 23, as part of the National Women in Engineering Day, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers hosted an evening entitled ‘Women in Motorsport Engineering – Beating the Competition’. BBC Radio 5 Live F1 presenter Jennie Gow chaired the discussion and speakers included Audi Sport race engineer Leena Gade, Force India performance and strategy engineer Bernadette Collins and BTCC data engineer Gemma Hatton. There were also presentations from F1 in Schools world champion Colossus’s scrutineering engineer Rachael Matthews, F1 in Schools UK champion Evolution’s team manager Helen Jarman, Cambridge University masters engineering student Aurelia Hibbert and University of Warwick engineering undergraduate Hannah Sugrue.
One of the questions raised by Gow was what the panel thought about Bernie Ecclestone’s idea of an all-female race series (“There is no reason why women can’t compete with men, as drivers or engineers,” said Collins, “it’s a terrible idea.”), but one of the stand-out statistics from the evening was that only six per cent of the national engineering workforce is female. It’s a sobering thought and one which the evening hopes to address. It was a fascinating hour and well worth a listen. If you would like to subscribe to the Motor Sport podcasts then visit our iTunes page. To find all our podcasts in one convenient place, visit our SoundCloud page.