#WIMM Q+A 3 - “What do you think is a solution to a lack of female drivers?”
For #WomenInMotorsportMonth, I'm talking to women in the sport - fans and professionals - and asking them key questions to celebrate our past, assess our present, and consider the future.
Today’s answer comes from Irene (@strolllando), who spoke to me about what more can be done to solve the problem we all know exists. The question is “What do you think is the solution to a lack of female drivers?”
I don’t think there is one solution to a lack of female drivers. I think the two most important things are a change of mindset within motorsport, and supporting young girls in karting. A change of mindset is very hard to achieve, because it is very hard to change people’s ideas that they’ve had for a very long time. I think it might be a bit of a circle in which we need really good female drivers to change the “only men can race” ideology, but at the same time, I feel like these drivers will have a really hard time making it to the top if this mindset is still there. One “solution” that I really support is the idea that if there is a larger pool of female talent, there will also be a bigger chance of a girl eventually making it to F1, or other top championships. The problem is, is that this requires all parents to think differently. For example, if you look at children of former racing drivers, it’s almost always the sons that are now racing drivers too, not the daughters. There is still this idea in society that cars and racing are for boys. I think this once again comes back to that circle of needing a female driver to reach the top to change that mindset, but at the same time, we need a change of mindset to see that female driver reach the top. It’s a difficult cycle.
This is a lot of talking with no actual solution. The most important thing is supporting young girls, and creating that bigger batch of young female drivers. I think W Series is doing a really good job at creating that representation to make girls interested in racing. I think making girls enthusiastic for racing/karting is the most important thing. Doing this on a microlevel, at karting circuits for example, is the best, since the FIA WIM or the Girls On Track can’t reach every single person or country. Maybe days that are focused on girls, and promoted towards girls, however controversial segregation in this sport is, could be a good idea. I’m not saying complete female karting championships, just at the complete beginner level. Another important thing is money. Money for testing, money for actual seasons. Maybe charities, or special teams, focused on women/girls or not-rich kids. I think as soon as they’ve got the ball rolling, representation and role models will make even more girls enter the sport, which will make more women reach the top.