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AMENA Holds Region’s First Women In Automotive Forum

Welcoming over 150 industry executives, VIPs as well as media and influencers, AMENA Automotive Association hosted the Women in Automotive Forum.

This was the region’s first event that dedicated major focus on how the automotive industry’s female professionals and female consumers may be empowered and supported in better and more progressive ways.

Only 16 per cent of the executives of the top 20 motor vehicle and companies that were enlisted in this year’s Fortune Global 500 were women. Shockingly, over half of the top 20 companies in this industry have zero women on their executive teams, a report by leading gender diversity consultancy 20-First.

“For the last 100 years, the automotive industry has played an integral part in defining and shaping our lives by providing new dimensions of mobility and personal freedom. However, when it comes to the role of women in automotive, we have not been a leader. And that’s putting it mildly.”, Chairman of AMENA, Alan Whaley said.

Highlights of the event included TED-Style Keynote Spotlight Series as well as a special panel on empowering and developing women in the automotive industry.

Sharing his insight on the success of the #SheDrives campaign in Saudi Arabia, Nissan’s VP of Human Resources Samar ElMnhrawy said “We know that 85 per cent of car buying decisions globally is in the hands of women. We also know that 27 per cent of cars registered in UAE is owned by women, that’s a 22 per cent increase over last year. Our focus should be on educating and empowering women and men in the automotive community on thought leadership and trends that impact employment and sales growth for the industry.”

Alex Hirschi, better known as the SupercarBlondie, who amassed over 7 million followers on social media channels shared her meteoric rise and how “people were ready for a woman in the automotive industry, they were ready for someone to speak to them in a really relatable way.”

While many of the women on the panel agreed that there are a number of stereotypes and challenges facing women, an interesting perspective came from Orsolya Kenézy, Director of Dealer Network Development and Customer Quality – Nissan AMI Region. Having recently moved to the UAE, she commented on how “being a woman I had to prove myself every day in Europe. But in this region, its instant respect, they respect you just because of who you are, this is a very interesting cultural difference.”

The Women in Automotive Forum finished off with the introduction of the Women In Automotive Whitepaper, an ambitious report that will partly capture the insights and learnings of the evening, and set proposed targets in close cooperation with industry partners and the change makers featured during the course of the night. It will be published in January 2019 and will be free of charge for all attendees as well as AMENA members.