International Women's Day 2020: the boundary-breaking power of inspiration
Individuality and collective strength: celebrating the values of the International Women's Day and highlighting the change within motorsport.
"The last woman to compete in Formula 1 was in 1976. 44 years ago." - this is how the new W Series short film opens. A simple superimposed text over black screen, yet a powerful reminder that our beloved sport has been lacking that vital diversity which is so important to create a better society.
44 years have passed since Lella Lombardi entered a Formula 1 Grand Prix. The world has changed and awareness on social issues is probably higher then ever before, yet we're still far from reaching our goals. If having a female representative in the elite circles of Formula 1 might seem trivial matter compared to breaking down the barriers of pay gaps, gender imbalance in business and stereotypes, we should always aknowledge the power of role models: "if she can see it, she can be it".
W Series has taken this concept to a new level and has elected it as its core value.
The all-female championship is "the very definition of a modern female-first business where diversity is not just a mildly irritating HR policy, but a core foundation" - says Catherine Bond-Muir, CEO of the series.
Criticized in its inaugural season by some of the "purist" followers of the sport and, notably, by some upcoming female talents, W Series was "blamed" to be a marketing device. Putting the invaluable opportunities and training it already provided to its participants aside, the championship does enjoy an extensive publicity appeal. And that's great news for the next generations of passionate young women, whether we like or not the W Series approach to motor racing.
With a different communication approach but with similar intent, the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission released on 7th March a booklet, featuring the profiles of more extraordinary talents and personalities working within our industry: racing drivers, team principals, promoters, race directors, press officers, whose rise to the top will inevitably carry the responsibility to inspire young girls.
Celebrating the International Women's Day with the launch of its inspirational short film directed by British filmmaker Casey Hennessy (and produced by a largely female crew), W Series is choosing to pursue this path, showing the demanding training programmes that the athletes are enduring in their preparation for the upcoming racing season.
“International Women’s Day is an important day for W Series especially as we are not only launching a video which celebrates the collective power of women – we are also expanding our own business and hoping that our amazing female role models will help to attract some brilliant candidates. We are determined to tackle gender imbalance in motorsport, and, with the right encouragement, show women what a wonderful world of opportunity there is.” - added Bond-Muir.
International Women's Day is certainly a great opportunity to showcase women's achievements and raise awareness against bias. And while all our social media feeds are flooded of great intentions and amazing personalities, let's not make these posts something to be only evoked again on 8th March 2021.
As obvious as it may sound, we should appreciate women always, every day. It's a priority, not an option.
Let's take these opportunities to celebrate our role models and heroes, whether in sports or in life, but let's work together to create a society where these figures are valued and can flourish every day of the year.
We are all part of this battle and our individual actions and midsets will make a difference.
And if having a successful female racing driver might be even the smallest step towards a more equal society, let's all join our forces for the common goal.
You can watch and share the W Series film on the championship's official social media channels: