pioneering women in the automotive industry


Updated:08/03/2021 01:01h


Women have played and continue to play an important role in everything that surrounds cars, industry, technology and automotive innovation as pioneers, entrepreneurs, engineers, managers or inventors. To give a significant example, the lines on the road, the turn signals or the rear-view mirrors they have a feminine stamp.

One of the first names to mention is Bertha Ringer, a woman without whom probably a brand like Mercedes-Benz would not exist today. She is one of the first, but not the only one. Thus, today we can mention at least two examples of key women in the modern development of the automobile: Mary Barra Y Linda Jackson. The first is the CEO of General Motors, a position she has held since 2012. The second, British, is the director of logistics studies and potential synergies in Grupo PSA, a position she holds after having been the global general director of Automobiles Citroën.

Bertha Benz, the first mechanical woman in history: a route known as the “Bertha Benz Memorial Route” remembers a pioneer woman in Germany, since Bertha Benz, the wife of the famous car manufacturer, is considered the first woman to take a route by car, and at the same time the first mechanics. Bertha Ringer was born in 1849 in Pforzheim, a city belonging to the Grand Duchy of Baden. Engine Maker Girlfriend Karl Benz, helped her future husband to improve the workshop in which he worked. She also allocated part of her dowry to this company, becoming an investor in the then nascent automobile industry. On August 5, 1888, he got on the Benz Patent Motorwagen with his two children and began the 106-kilometer journey that separated the family home from that of his grandmother. That trip was the longest car trip ever made and the birth of car maintenance and repair, as Bertha Benz had to make some adjustments on the fly.

Dorothy Levitt: Looking back through history, the name of the pilot Dorothy Levitt, the fastest woman on the planet in her time, cannot be overlooked (she achieved the first female world record for speed by reaching 146.25 km / h), described in his book dedicated to the automobile (‘The Woman and the Car: A chatty little handbook for all women who motor or who want to motor’ published in 1909) several tips … such as that women use a small mirror to see the traffic behind their vehicles. Today the mirror still exists but it is a screen that shows the image of a camera … that acts as a rear-view mirror.

Lorence Lawrence: On a tombstone in the Hollywood cemetery you can read the inscription ‘The first movie star’. It corresponds to Florence Lawrence, one of the most recognized Hollywood actresses of the early twentieth century, with almost 300 films as the protagonist. But Lawrence had other hobbies beyond the movies. And one stood out above the rest: the engine. Passionate about cars, Lawrence collected models of all kinds. But not only did he drive them, he also repaired and upgraded them. Her creative ability led her to design a stick-shaped contraption that moved to indicate whether the vehicle was going to turn, as well as a STOP sign which was visible at the rear when the driver applied the brake. Florence Lawrence had invented turn signals and brake lights. Although he never patented these systems, his input was decisive for the future of the industry.

Mary Andersson: He observed in 1902 how New York taxi drivers suffered from the rain to see where they circulated and his idea was to create a manual device that was operated from the inside to clean the windshield. There are still no cars that do not need windscreen wipers, as we are reminded by Automobile Barcelona. “Car safety systems in bad weather have prevented countless accidents, but now we can go a few steps further. Thanks to applications and new mobility services, connected vehicles will allow us to plan routes, adapt them in real time based on factors such as the weather and recommend the best transport option to reach our destination ”, he assures Leyre Olavarría, Head of Infotainment and Connected Car at Seat. After your rights expired, the windshield wiper began to be fitted as standard on most models.

Maria de Villota: continuing in the F-1 we must remember the ill-fated María de Villota who in 2012 was a test pilot for the Marussia team Carmen Jordà who was also part of the Lotus F1 Team development team in 2007. María de Villota seemed to have had an obsession throughout her life: becoming a Formula 1 driver. A fixation that undoubtedly came out of her hands. from his father, also a former Formula 1 driver, Emilio de Villota. With him she became fond of the world of car racing from a very young age. At just 16 years old, in 1996, she already participated in Kart races, to go on to compete in the Spanish Formula 3 Championship in two years. In 2005, María focused on touring cars to return to single-seaters in 2008, competing in a career in the Euroseries 3000. In 2011, María de Villota signed a contract with Renault F1 Team and in 2012 she was a tester for the Russian team Marussia until her accident that forced her to retire, being closer than ever to fulfilling his dream.

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