More than a hundred people travelled to the inaugural “Women In Motoring” event that took place at Bonhams Auction House in Bond Street on November 29th, to hear four women from across the automotive world speak about their experiences, successes and frustrations in the industry.
In the first of a series of talks championing women in the automotive world, Andrew Barrett and Poppy McKenzie Smith from the Bonhams motoring department interviewed photographer Amy Shore, McLaren engineer Amelia Lewis, racing driver Jamie Chadwick, and motorcyclist and adventurer Elspeth Beard, in a revealing Q&A that highlighted both the pitfalls and new opportunities meeting women interested in working in the industry.
The event showcased some of the exciting career options that are now open to women, while acknowledging the challenges facing women in the industry, too. Elspeth Beard, the first British woman to ride a motorcycle around the world, shared that she was laughed at when first entering the biking community. “There was no community for me, I felt left out. I would go in to a shop and they would laugh and point. No women were riding big bikes at the time, I felt completely out of place.”
Both Chadwick – the first woman to have won a Formula 3 race – and car photographer Shore shared some of the difficulties they themselves had found in such a traditionally male-dominated industry, while Amelia Lewis lamented the lack of information available to teenage girls interested in the world of motoring.
The success of the event blew the organisers away, with more than five times the number of RSVPs than they had expected. Bonhams is planning the next Women in Motoring talk – with speakers still to be announced – for as early as March 2019.