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A call for recognition and action by the host and lead strategist of The Battery Show’s Women in EV events.

Jessica Sundberg

March 26, 2024

5 Min Read
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Women are making groundbreaking contributions to the EV industry. (Stock image)Credit: gorodenkoff / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

In just five years, the electric vehicle industry has grown at an exponential rate from selling one million cars in 2017 to more than 13 million in 2023. The growth of electrified modes of transportation is an exciting shift in our personal and professional lives around the world. With the growth of EV sales also comes the growth of new industries, competition and of course, more jobs. Yet even with this impressive growth in the automotive industry we find that women only make up 25% of the industry workforce.

Back in 2021, I was at The Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Show in Novi, MI when I stood in our company’s booth and observed the crowd of show-walkers. Far and few between I’d see a fellow female walking the floor who I’d stop and introduce myself to, to become a friendly face throughout the week. As I got to know them, I realized that each of these women had a unique story and an impactful role at their company. I left the show feeling inspired by the women I met. This was the catalyst for the idea of Women in EV, an event Parker Lord started hosting each year at the EV shows in partnership with Informa.

Women can play a transformative role in the e-mobility sector, infusing it with innovation and vision. Our contributions span from pivotal engineering breakthroughs to trailblazing leadership roles, propelling the industry forward whether it be through the technology, strategies, or businesses they lead or the teams and relationships they build. By embracing diverse perspectives, women ignite a spectrum of creativity and problem-solving, fueling innovation cycles that resonate with consumers worldwide. Additionally, within the EV ecosystem, women are seizing exciting leadership opportunities across sustainability, technology, and business domains, reshaping the landscape, and driving initiatives toward a more inclusive, sustainable future.

Related:My Journey as a Woman in Batteries: A Quest for Diversity & Empowerment

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Harnessing women's potential in the EV industry

It's crucial to acknowledge the historical barriers and biases that have obstructed women's progress in STEM fields and the automotive industry. Despite these hurdles, we can look to women who have been in the industry for decades and laid the groundwork for us to join them. Take, for instance, Mary Barra, who became the first woman to run an automaker as CEO of GM, or Lisa Drake, who has built her career at Ford Motor Co. and is now the highest female leader at the company, formerly as COO and now Vice President of Industrialization. These remarkable women exemplify resilience, determination, and a steadfast commitment to excellence, serving as beacons of inspiration for aspiring female professionals in the field.

By embracing and harnessing the potential of women in the EV industry, we're not just advancing the industry—we're steering the world towards a brighter, cleaner, and more equitable future.

Another way we can sustain a diverse workforce is by supporting the next generation of women in this industry. STEM events, mentor programs and inclusive workplaces can help empower and prepare women to pursue their passions and drive change in the industry for decades to come. Some of the organizations that inspire me are Volta Foundation, which has started to carve out a Women in Batteries initiative; Women in Chemicals, which just started in 2021 and has amassed a global membership; Green TV’s “Top Women in EV”, which is spotlighting women changemakers; and She’s in Power, which is helping develop tomorrow’s clean energy leaders. This is just a small sampling of the hundreds of organizations that are working tirelessly to help amplify the voices of women in clean tech today and in the future.

Cultivating a culture of inclusion and collaboration

It’s important to note that being pro-women in the workforce isn't about being anti-men; it's about advocating for gender equality and creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone. Embracing gender diversity and empowering women doesn't diminish the value or opportunities for others; rather, it enriches the workplace by leveraging the unique perspectives, talents, and experiences of all individuals, regardless of gender. When we prioritize gender equality, we create a fairer and more equitable workplace where everyone can thrive based on their skills, merits, and contributions, regardless of gender. Ultimately, by championing women in the workforce, we're working towards building a more inclusive and progressive industry that benefits everyone, regardless of gender identity.

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To foster a supportive environment for women in the electric vehicle industry, it's essential to encourage company policies and practices that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion. This can be achieved by implementing robust mentorship programs that pair female employees with experienced mentors who can provide guidance, support, and career advancement opportunities. Additionally, companies should be making conscious decisions to seek out talented women in the organization and giving them the opportunity to fill leadership roles. Finally, the pandemic brought to light a global appreciation for flexible work arrangements, including remote work options and flexible scheduling. These arrangements can foster a better work-life balance, which in turn can enhance job satisfaction and increase employee retention.

By prioritizing these policies and practices, companies can create an inclusive and supportive environment where not only women but all employees feel valued, empowered, and able to reach their full potential both personally and professionally in the electric vehicle industry.

Driving change

As we celebrate Women's History Month, let's acknowledge and champion the women in the EV industry, for they are the driving force behind the industry's progress and a beacon of hope for a more inclusive and sustainable future. By embracing and harnessing the potential of women in EV, we're not just advancing the industry—we're steering the world towards a brighter, cleaner, and more equitable future. Lift each other up, mentor and help each other grow, and don’t forget to be your own biggest cheerleader. We all have our part to play in advancing electric mobility, what better time than right now?

About the Author(s)

Jessica Sundberg

Parker Lord EV Market Development Manager Jessica Sundberg is host and Lead Strategist of ‘Women in EV,’ a Parker Lord-sponsored event held yearly at The Battery Show North America and The Battery Show Europe.

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