Women in Motorsports
7 minute read · Issue Number 82 · August 20th, 2021
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My most recent Halftime Snack featured Stefy Bau – a 3-time motocross world champion turned entrepreneur.
The chat was real fun, and I learned so much from her.
I was intrigued by the fact that motorsport is one of the few activities that allow men and women to compete against each other on a level playing field.
Learning about women in motorsports can offer a unique perspective on modern gender dynamics and maybe even the future of sports.
Let’s talk about it.
Motorsport is an umbrella term used to describe different types of motor-vehicle racing. In terms of organization, motorsport is very diverse.
Categories range from single-seater open-wheeled cars (like Formula 1 and IndyCar) to multi-seated closed-wheeled series (like NASCAR and the World Rally Championship).
The term also includes competitions of two-wheeled motorized vehicles such as motorcycle racing and off-road races such as motocross.
Within motorsports, there are numerous sub-disciplines with different car makes models, specifications, and rules.
Women in Motorsports
Motorsports exist since 1894 due to the introduction of new inventions and technologies to the motor car. Given that the engineering industry was way more masculine, the sport was almost instinctively associated with males.
Hence, initially, motorsports were specifically male-dominated.
Nevertheless, women’s participation in motorsport started as soon as 1898 and rose consistently throughout the decades.
The increased participation provided new evidence that has challenged the widespread belief that women racecar drivers were physically inferior.
Today, women participate more regularly in IndyCar, NASCAR series, Le Mans, and Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters championships (to name a few).
Furthermore, many current industry initiatives in motorsports, such as NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program and the W Series — an all-female racing series launched in 2018 – aim to increase gender parity, participation, inclusion, and diversity.
The Future of Women in Motorsport
The motor car emerged from an industrial, masculine-dominated culture, as men manufactured early motor cars.
However, women have shown that there’s no difference between male and female competitors.
Nevertheless — at least in motorsports — we’re still halfway.
Today, women are still significantly underrepresented compared to their male counterparts, both as a majority of drivers and other professionals in racing (pit crew members, course marshals, team owners, managers, etc.).
So how do we get there? Through an exponential shift in perception.
We must encourage more women to see motorsport as a viable career option (not just as drivers) through equitable media exposure, enhanced support of women’s organizations, and more significant structural partnerships to develop and care for young, emerging talent.
Undoubtedly, motorsports teach most other sports an important lesson on gender dynamics, equality, diversity, and inclusion.
🎙 Halftime Snack of the Week
Motorsports, Esports, and Inclusion
The most recent Halftime Snack features Stefy Bau – a 3-time motocross world champion and an advocate for diversity and inclusion in sports.
Stefy's the CEO of Init Sports and Init Esports – entities that aim to create, develop, and promote events in motorsports, e-mobility, and Esports to create opportunities for women and minorities.
In our conversation, we discussed the concept of risk and reward in the context of motorsports, how failures build your character, using technology to train motorsports athletes, diversity and inclusion, and so much more.
Listen on Apple | Spotify | Google
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Until next week,
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