International Women’s Day Celebrations: A Look at our Members’ Activities

Yesterday we shared the International Women’s Day activities of our Patrons.  Here we showcase the amazing activities of more of our members.

Volkswagen Group UK

Volkswagen Group UK’s Driven Women Employee Network Group (ENG) organised a series of activities to highlight the importance of gender balance within the automotive industry.  The activities began with an internal communication highlighting the specific gender statistics for the business, supported by a LinkedIn article with a quote from Managing Director, Alex Smith.

Chair of the Driven Women ENG Laura Bignall said: “During this week we are putting a particular focus on traditionally male roles. We have a number of speakers and activities planned to shine a spotlight on the good work we have done but also the challenges we still have to overcome in balancing gender within our senior positions.”

One such activity was an online seminar and Q&A session featuring external speaker Louise Atkinson, Director of Babcock for Land and Defence. Louise has worked in a variety of traditional male-dominated industries and she shared her experiences along with her challenges.  This event was attended by over 80 Volkswagen Group employees.

Another event featured internal speakers including Claire English, Head of Fleet for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and Steve Catlin, Head of Sales Operations for Audi. They shared their experiences of working in automotive and why they value a gender diverse team.  The event was attended by over 70 Volkswagen Group employees. 

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Enterprise Head Office held a virtual event to celebrate the contributions and value of women and was attended by around 350 employees from across Europe.  This event aimed to #ChooseToChallenge: Gender Bias, and engaged with their employees on unconscious bias and how this can negatively impact the progression of women.

Amy Smith, Inclusion Advisor for Business in the Community, led this interactive session designed to really challenge how we can identify bias.  Then Kirsty Rogers of DWF Law explained how most biases are not conscious, but lack of intent is never an excuse.  She stated that we all need to actively confront bias, in ourselves and others, and the standards we walk past are the ones we accept.  There was a panel Q&A with employees from across the business and DWF Law, to give a more personal perspective on the experience of bias, and explore how everyone can effectively oppose this as allies and leaders.  Attendees were asked to identify one way they would personally challenge bias.  

Enterprise Holdings also held a Breaking Barriers Event, and 1402 students, career service and employees registered to attend. The event was designed to raise the aspirations of students as they finish their education and transition into the workplace, much needed after such a tough year.  Content included a keynote from award-winning Diversity & Inclusion consultant, Hayley Bennett, followed by a Women in Industry Panel, allowing students to explore careers in typical male-dominated industries.  There were also sessions that covered developing a personal brand, the Imposter phenomenon, standing out with your disability, and a mental health and wellbeing session.


TrustFord celebrated the achievements of women in the business and gave more information to colleagues about their efforts to boost diversity and inclusion across the group.  

Activities started with internal communications to colleagues explaining more about the importance of International Women’s Day and their rationale behind the strategic TrustFord diversity and inclusion goals.  Internal communications also included messages celebrating the achievements of women across the business by sharing their success stories.  This included highlighting the eleven women nominated in the Inspiring Automotive Women Awards 2020. 

Finally, Sharon Ashcroft, HR Director announced a new initiative called ‘Leading Ladies’.  This mentoring programme would enable six (initially) women in the business to be mentored by a senior female within TrustFord to guide, support, share career experience and to ‘lift as we rise’

The standout message was to encourage the current female talent within TrustFord to take the next step in their career.  Colleagues felt valued and were uplifted as other women shared their stories. 


The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 ‘Choose to Challenge’ provided Copart with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how they deliver on one of Copart’s Values, ‘Challenge the Norm,’ by asking their very first female engineer, Rachael Martindale to write a blog for their website.


Copart has a strong female representation across all areas of their business, including the senior management team. Some of these women were featured in an on-line campaign across their social media platforms.  One post included a quote from Tracy Brown, Customer Support Centre Manager who said 

“It’s refreshing to work for a company that offers career progression opportunities to all teammates, regardless of gender.”


HMG (Haymarket Media Group) embarked on a week of daily content released to their employees starting on International Women’s Day, to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias and to take action for equality.  The content included five pre-recorded 30-45 mins ‘fireside chats’ between female HMG employees from differing markets discussing a chosen topic.  The CEO kicked off the week-long celebrations with a video message celebrating women at Haymarket. Rachael Prasher, Managing Director Haymarket Automotive discussed ‘Next generation of female leaders’ alongside global colleagues. 

Other topics discussed included Women in Leadership, Women in Journalism, Reskilling and Upskilling Women for the future of work and Gender Bias in Media

18 colleagues from across Haymarket Media Group featured in the video discussions and these have been published internally and across social channels.  The event shone the spotlight on key women in the business and offered them a platform to share their insights and learnings. The purpose of the event was to inspire their colleagues to forge a gender-equal workplace and society.


The Vertu Motors Commercial team held a small informal event focused on identifying colleague’s strengths and considering the impact they can have on one’s career. The event was inspired by the #whatwomencando session held for the launch of Julia Muir’s Change the Game book. Colleagues were asked to write their strengths on a flip chart, no subject topic was out of bounds, personal, career, hobbies etc. 

The session made their young talent see themselves in a more positive light, it reinforced their strengths but also made them realise that they have skills, strengths and are good at many more things than they thought. The participants thought it was very positive, with one saying she was ‘very energised and inspired’ at the end. Vertu has organised a further session where participants will discuss two chapters from the #changethegame book and Elaine Cole, Commercial Director will further expand the event so that all the women in the Commercial team can consider their strengths in an informal and fun environment.


Motorpoint held an International Women’s Day Happy Hour with it’s CEO Mark Carpenter. This was a virtual teams call, where women in the business spoke to Mark about their experiences of being a woman at work in Motorpoint, discussed any areas or issues they felt could be improved including how Motorpoint can increase its women representation in roles currently dominated by men and how the business could attract women to work in the business.

Motorpoint also encouraged its colleagues to take part in the #choosetochallenge pose to show their support to the movement and women in the business.  Over 100 employees participated in this activity.

“As someone relatively new to Motorpoint and the automotive industry for me I found it empowering to see as a business how we are fighting and challenging the stereotypes for women in this sector and to see our drive and plans for wanting to do better and close the gaps to achieve a better balance.” – Emma Richards, Internal Communications and  Engagement Coordinator

It’s been great to hear about so many activities taking place in our member companies to mark International Women’s Day. Let’s hope they will help us get closer to our goal of getting a better gender-balance in the sector. 

The Automotive 30% Club Inspiring e-zine team would love to hear from you with your suggestions for hot topics to discuss in future articles or activities taking place within your organisation which help to drive change throughout the industry. If you’d like to get involved please do get in touch: nicola@automotive30club.co.uk.

Share this..