Episode 33

New Opportunities for Women in the Automotive Industry


Welcome back to the Mentors and Moguls podcast with your host, Heather Stone.  In a male-dominated automotive industry, some women are breaking the trend. Today, we’re talking about innovation, and our guests today are leading the way. Joining us is Paulette Avolio, who works in the autonomous vehicle division with Ford, and Stephanie Price, an application engineer with Promess Inc. 

Although women make up almost half of the US labor force, they represent less than a quarter of the automotive workforce.

Although women make up almost half of the US labor force, they represent less than a quarter of the automotive workforce. Women held 23.6% of jobs in the industry in 2019, and in the same year, women of color made up an even smaller fraction of that. Women also only represented 17.9% of auto dealers and 9.9% of automotive repair positions in the US. 

Paulette is innovating in ways that seem incredibly futuristic. By the time she’s retired, she says we will see fully autonomous vehicles. She’s working with a team that is focused on safety when it comes to innovative vehicles. She’s tackling how autonomous vehicles behave on steel bridges to ensure the safest, best product gets to the customer. 

Stephanie points out how exceptionally good women are at taking in an incredible amount of information, analyzing it efficiently, and producing a result or answer.

There is certainly room for women in the innovative space, Stephanie and Paulette agree. Stephanie points out how exceptionally good women are at taking in an incredible amount of information, analyzing it efficiently, and producing a result or answer. Both of these women started out breaking things, which is how they came to this experimental world they’re in today. There’s a hunger in the industry to include more perspective and experiences so that they can solve tomorrow’s problems with a wider view. 

There are programs for women who are looking to get into the industry, and both Stephanie and Paulette are optimistic that more and more women will become innovators alongside them. 

“There’s a hunger in the industry to be more diverse, more inclusive and to accept you and your experiences.” – Paulette Avolio, Autonomous Vehicle Division with Ford Motor Company
OTHER TOP QUOTES FROM THIS EPISODE

Paulette “We don’t know what innovation will look like, but we know it will take all of us to get there.”

Stephanie “Women are good at looking at something, processing, and making a decision without quickly jumping to a conclusion.”  

Ford Labs, Autonomous Vehicles, Careers and Sustainability Report

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