Why It’s Critical for Women to Take the Lead in Automotive Technology

Automotive businesses need to find ways to bring new thinking and perspectives to the table if they are going to meet the needs of the changing consumer marketplace. Gender diversity is an essential part of building the workforce of the future.

Today, women make up only 27% of the U.S. automotive workforce, compared with 47% of the overall U.S. workforce. Obviously, there is work to be done to close the gender gap within the industry. That’s why the Best Practices in Automotive Conference will include an ASUG Women Connect lunch panel to inspire discussions among women leaders in the sector.

We reached out to our ASUG Women Connect panelists and asked them to share their thoughts on the importance of women in automotive technology. Melika Jahangiri, director of growth at Ridecell, cited the benefits of more women in leadership roles:

“I believe it is critical to have more women in automotive and within automotive technology because the diversity of thought on business decisions is critical for effective problem-solving and innovation. In fact, studies show that having more women in leadership positions has a strong correlation with increased profits for the company overall.”

“If you look around the table and everyone looks the same, you are essentially going to get similar results. Automotive technology is moving so quickly—in essence, your product can change within months or days sometimes—that it is imperative that you have a diverse team in place that is well-equipped to handle these changes in the best possible way.”

Women Connect panelist Deborah Powers, senior director of digital global functions at HARMAN, added:

“It’s important for women to be involved in automotive technology for the exact same reasons why it is important for men to be involved: to have a voice in the products and processes that are brought to market. Women represent 70% to 80% of consumer buying decisions yet are underrepresented—especially in positions of leadership. By supporting initiatives that encourage women to enter and thrive in this industry, I hope to render this question obsolete.”

Another conference speaker, Lori Foster, who is co-hosting the roundtable “Successfully Transform Your Business Using SAP S/4HANA,” has been involved in technology projects for years.

“Up until recently I wouldn’t have classified myself as a woman in tech. My background has been in various supply chain leadership roles for over 20 years. But when I reflect on my career, every transformation activity we did was supported by technology.”

“I have led numerous transformation projects with technology like SAP as a catalyst helping to improve business operations. It was only recently when I actually joined SAP after being a customer for 23 years that I recognized how critical bridging the gap between business and technology actually is.”

“Research in 2018 showed that only 20% of technology jobs are held by women. That is why I have decided that it is important to recognize myself as a business professional and a technology professional. Sometimes it is just in the way we classify our capabilities because I know there are a vast number of women who are excelling in bridging that gap.”

The ASUG Women Connect session is just one of the exciting sessions happening at the Best Practices in Automotive Conference taking place on October 7–8 in Detroit.

The Best Practices for Automotive conference is North America’s leading event for industry professionals to gain insights into digital technology trends and the latest solutions from SAP. Learn from automotive organizations who are driving results with people, processes, and technology in today’s complex automotive landscape. Produced by Eventful Conferences—an ASUG company—and in collaboration with SAP, Best Practices for Automotive is a critical junction for SAP automotive users, leaders, influencers, experts, solutions providers, and your peers.

Register for the conference here.

To stay on top of industry news and conference announcements, follow us on Twitter @bp4auto.

Learn more about the trends and pressures facing the industry in The State of the Automotive Industry 2019 report.

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