Thursday, 13 August 2020 20:18

GM CEO Barra Encourages Young Girls to Consider a Career in the Auto Industry

Written by Josh Isley, CBT Automotive Network
GM CEO Mary Barra GM CEO Mary Barra Fortune


Despite small glimpses of recent progress, women have continued to be underrepresented across the entire auto industry.

According to data collected by Catalyst, women make up less than one-quarter of the automotive workforce, despite making up almost half of the entire U.S. labor force.


Women only make up 17.9% of automobile dealers and only 9.9% of repair and maintenance positions. Female leaders across the industry want these numbers to change as the next generation enters the workforce.


“We need you,” was the message from Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, during the "Awesome Girls: Engineer Your World" webinar in regards to the need for more women in the automotive industry. The webinar was open to the general public but was specifically aimed towards the Girl Scouts of the USA.


Barra spoke alongside Sylvia Acevedo, current CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA and former NASA engineer. The duo geared the discussion towards empowering girls to step into traditionally male-dominated fields without fear. 


“The auto world is considering how people move … and that is changing. We’re looking at different propulsion systems, ones that are friendlier to the environment,” Barra said, referring to GM’s push to be all-electric in the future. “We need more women who are studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in school and in college because---we need you.”


Barra became the first woman to run a major automaker when she was named CEO of GM in 2014. Barra attributes her love for the industry to her parents, who sparked her interest and supported every step of the journey that led her to where she is today.


“My dad worked for GM for 39 years. He taught me the love of engineering and cars and my mom said, ‘Mary, you can do anything and be anything. You’ll have to work hard, but you can be anything you want to be,'” Barra said. “I liked math and science in school and so engineering seemed like a natural pathway for me when I started college.”

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