In today’s automotive world, women occupy around 25% of jobs in the sector. Alongside this, many notable award organisations do not have female members on their panels. Back in 2008 the prestigious New York-based ‘World Car of the Year awards’ had 45 jury members on the panel. However, not one panellist was a woman.

Formed in 2009 to change the gender imbalance status quo, the Women’s World Car of the Year organisation highlights the role of women in the automotive industry – alongside selecting the best cars of the year.

Voting criteria are based on the same principles that any upcoming buyer would consider, such as safety, price and driving experience.

This year, the Kia EV9 was voted Supreme Winner of the Women’s Worldwide Car of the Year.

Last year, Tina Vujanović,’s Executive Editor Automotive, was appointed to the jury. This is a notable appointment due to this being the first time that Serbia has been represented in the jury.

We spoke to Marta García, executive president of Women’s World Car of the Year to learn more about the organisation’s history and aims.

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Just Auto (JA): Could you tell me a little bit of history surrounding the organisation?

Marta García (MG): In 2008, three women motoring journalists (from New Zealand, Australia, and England), discussed the fact the World Car of the Year awards (based in New York) had 45 jury members on the panel.  Not one was a woman! The three of them said, as a joke, why don’t we start one?

Over the Christmas holidays in 2009, one of them, Sandy Myhre, attacked Google and tracked down email addresses of seven women motoring writers.  They all agreed to join Women’s World Car of the Year, and then the history began.

What are the key aims and goals of the jury?

The aim of this unique award is to recognise the best cars of the year and to give a voice to women in the automotive world. The voting criteria is based on the same principles that guide any driver when choosing a car. The selections are not “woman’s car” because such categories do not exist.

Aspects such as safety, quality, price, design, ease of driving, benefits, and environmental footprint, among others, are taken into account when casting the votes.

However, beyond choosing the best cars of the year, our goal is also to give visibility to women in the automotive world, to contribute to making women voices heard on all continents.

What needs to be done to ensure that women are considered in the automotive sector?

We need to create reference models featuring women and give them a voice. This is more important than it seems if we want to increase women’s participation in the automotive industry.

Currently, on average, women occupy barely 25-30% of jobs in the sector. Why? Many say they don’t like cars. Is that really a problem? I agree that the automotive world needs engineers, but it also needs communication managers, logistics experts, sales and marketing experts, human resources managers…the possibilities are endless. There is room for women.

Currently, on average, women occupy barely 25-30% of jobs in the sector.

The sector will be losing half of the available talent if it does not open its doors to them and promote their inclusion.

Serbia has become involved with the jury. What does this mean for the organisation?

Last year, motoring expert Tina Vujanović joined the Women’s World Car of the Year representing Serbia. It is a luxury to have her on board because she is a highly regarded professional in the country.

For a woman, a car is more than just a passion.

As soon as we announced her nomination, we received letters from many brands praising our choice. Tina is extraordinary. But it is also very important for WWCOTY to have Serbia in our ranks because it is the largest market in the Adriatic region, and that is very important.

What involvement has the jury had so far with the automotive industry?

All the journalists who are part of this team have a long history in the world of motoring. The 63 jurors from 45 countries on five continents have in-depth knowledge of the automotive market.

Every year we travel thousands of kilometres testing cars, assessing their quality and performance. That’s why our voice is a point of reference for millions of consumers around the world. Our opinion is invaluable because it is backed by many hours of work and years of experience.

What are the goals?

We are focused on continuing to grow and increase our presence in those countries where the Women’s World Car of the Year is represented. But also, to continue working to make women more visible in the automotive sector. To this end, we are promoting certain actions at an international level.

We strongly support International Women Drivers’ Day on 24 June. On that day in 2018, the ban on women driving was lifted in Saudi Arabia, the last country in the world where it was still not allowed. It is therefore a day of celebration for women all over the world, but also a day to demand that mobility is not a privilege.

Anything else you would like our readers to know?

Sometimes we look at things from a European point of view and forget what a car means for women in other continents. A car opens the door to freedom, mobility, makes it possible to find a job far away from home or to escape from a situation that one does not want to live in.

For a woman, a car is more than just a passion.