• The Women in Automotive Forum is the automotive association’s first flagship event focused on gender diversity and women empowerment.
  • The 150 attendees which included industry executives, VIPs, media, and influencers were inspired by TED-Style KeynoteSpotlights as well as deep insights from a Special Panel.

DUBAI – AMENA Automotive Association last Wednesday welcomed 150 industry executives, VIPs, media, and influencers to the Women In Automotive Forum at theRitz Carlton DIFC. This was the region’s first event focused on how the automotive industry’s female professionals and female consumers may be empowered and supported in better and more progressive ways.

In 2018, women accounted for only 16 per cent of the executives in the top 20 motor vehicles and parts companies in the Fortune Global 500, and over half of the top 20 companies in this industry have zero women on their executive teams, according to a report by leading gender diversity consultancy 20-First.

AlanWhaley, Chairman of AMENA, started off the evening with “For the last 100years, 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.”

The Forum and the accompanying initiatives were designed in close cooperation with Title Sponsor Nissan Motor Corporation and GoldSponsor Michelin. Highlights included the TED-Style Keynote Spotlight Series per cent as a special panel on empowering and developing women in the automotive industry. During the reception, attendees which included executives from most major manufacturers (Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, FCA, PSA, AstonMartin…), importers (Gargash, AW Rostamani, Al Tayer, Al Naboodah, AlFuttaim…), and global suppliers (Michelin, AkzoNobel, CDK Global, Bosch MiddleEast…) got a chance to share knowledge, discuss insights, and improve business relationships.

motor vehicles Samir Gargash, Chairman of Gargash Group, summed the crowd “It’s not every day you see so many key players and all in per cent to move the automotive industry to the forefront of women empowerment.”

The Women In Automotive Forum laid out three themes for the event and future initiatives to focus on:

  1. Increasing Gender Diversity in the Automotive Industry
  2. Highlighting and Enabling Women in Leadership Positions
  3. Reaching and Serving Female Consumers Today and Tomorrow

Nissan’s VP of Human Resources – AMI Region, Samar ElMnhrawy shared the success of the #SheDrives campaign in Saudi Arabia as well as several eye-opening stats. “We know that 85 percent of car buying decisions globally are in the hands of women. We also know that 27 percent of cars registered in UAE are owned by women, that’s a 22 percent 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.”

Rana Nawas, who is a strategic advisor on gender parity and host of the #1 podcast in the Middle East, When Women Win, highlighted the most important motivation for progress: “diversity at the workplace has a strong economic case. Diverse teams make better decisions and bring about better financial results.”

Alex Hirschi, aka “@SupercarBlondie”, is a celebrity influencer who amassed over seven million followers on her social media channels. She 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 real 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.”

On the consumer side, speakers shared data and insights on female consumers and shared ideas and initiatives on how to adapt these emerging trends.

Ines Pintenat, Head of Consumer Experience at Michelin ME, spoke about how women want to be marketed to differently. Michelin, a gold sponsor and close partner of the Women In Automotive Forum, has been a leader in creating experiences for female consumers. “Michelin’s theme of #WomenInDrive invites women into the automotive world and empowers women of different backgrounds”

Dr. Saeeda Jaffar, Managing Director of Alvarez & Marsal, “when it comes to the topic of electric cars and shared mobility, our data shows that women are much more favorable towards these advancements than men.”

The 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.

About AMENA Automotive Association

AMENA Automotive Association was founded to promote prosperity and success for automotive manufacturers, dealers, partners, and professionals in the MENA region. Through thought leadership, networking opportunities, knowledge sharing, and market intelligence, the association raises the standards in the automotive industry. To learn more about AMENA, visit www.amenaauto.org.

About Nissan Motor Corporation

Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, INFINITI and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2017, the company sold 5.77 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.9 trillion yen. On April 1, 2017, the company embarked on Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022, a six-year plan targeting a 30% increase in annualized revenues to 16.5 trillion yen by the end of fiscal 2022, along with cumulative free cash flow of 2.5 trillion yen. As part of Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022, the company plans to extend its leadership in electric vehicles, symbolized by the world’s best-selling all-electric vehicle in history, the Nissan LEAF. Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, the Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America. Nissan has partnered with French manufacturer Renault since 1999 and acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors in 2016. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is today the world’s largest automotive partnership, with combined sales of more than 10.6 million vehicles in calendar year 2017.

About Michelin

Michelin, the leading tire company, is dedicated to enhancing its clients’ mobility, sustainably; designing and distributing the most suitable tires, services and solutions for its clients’ needs; providing digital services, maps and guides to help enrich trips and travels and make them unique experiences; and developing high-technology materials that serve the mobility industry. Headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Michelin is present in 171 countries, has more than 114,000 employees and operates 70 production facilities in 17 countries which together produced around 190 million tires in 2017. (www.michelin.com)

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