While it may seem sexist, many experts assert that a survey of automotive enthusiasts would show that most of them are male. Considering the importance of automobiles in U.S. culture, however, it remains important that both men and women focus on developing an appreciation for cars. To accomplish this, families must start when girls are young. Here are some suggestions for how to help girls appreciate cars.
Watch ‘Top Gear’
In many ways, automotive enthusiast programming like “Top Gear” can function as a “gateway drug” to automotive fascination. According to producer BBC’s data, the television program has a 42 percent female audience, so “Top Gear” may just be doing something right. Focusing on aspects of entertainment that go along with developing a knowledge of cars has been a proven path toward success for “Top Gear,” as learning that’s fun tends to stick. Plus, the show doesn’t pander or play off of gender stereotypes.
Take your daughter to car shows
Like any other aspect of teaching children, a key is exposure. If mothers and fathers take their daughters (or sons) to car shows, seeds of fascination can be planted that will grow over the course of a lifetime. Sights, sounds, smells and the smooth comfort of Corinthian leather are quite a draw for anyone.
Take your daughter to racing school
If you have a bit of money to work with, racing school can be a great ice-breaker. Experiencing speed behind the wheel of a race car not only breaks through barriers of fear, it is intoxicating.
Buy your daughter toy cars
Continuing with the idea of exposure, try buying your young daughter toy cars now and again. Brainwash your daughters from an early age with the right kind of toys, and they can become both a girly-girl and a gear head – if that is your goal.
Work with your daughter in the garage
Fathers and mothers who work with their daughters and sons help build life-long interests for their children. The same is true with working on cars. From simple maintenance to more complicated repairs, there are plenty of things children – who are mental sponges – can learn. Teach the major parts of a car while you’re at it. Guide gently and let your own enthusiasm show; don’t force the issue.
Pay attention to female automotive role models
Show your daughter that there numerous examples of women who have forged successful careers in the automotive field. There are female race car drivers, engineers, executives and more in the industry, all of whom developed a love of cars at an early age. Teaching your children about how these women became successful can help instill the values of hard work, determination and confidence.
Check your preconceptions at the door
Part of triumphing over sexism is adjusting one’s thinking. If a parents assume that their daughters won’t be good at or interested in working on cars, odds are the girl will not succeed in the endeavor at that early stage. Gender should not be an issue. A woman should not be made to feel that she is different or an outcast because she’s learning a skill that has traditionally been assigned to men.