Auto Service World
News   March 8, 2016   by Steve Pawlett

Advancing Women’s Automotive Knowledge Exchange, challenges and opportunities in 2016


The Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA) is celebrating International Women’s Day, a day recognizing the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The theme of this year’s celebration is gender parity.

In 2015, AIA launched the Advancing Women in Automotive Knowledge Exchange (AWAKE) project. Partially funded by Status of Women Canada, the three-year project aims to promote the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in the automotive aftermarket industry.

“While women have made gains in several sectors and professions where they have been underrepresented, they continue to have low representation in the skilled trades, technology and science-based professions,” explains France Daviault, senior director, Industry Relations. “Thanks to the project ambassadors and supporters like industry CEOs and other stakeholders, AWAKE is on track to help close this gap for women working in the sector.”

AIA’s partnership with St. Clair College to undertake a needs assessment – which included an industry survey and Canada-wide focus groups – was a first for the industry. The report – to be released in June 2016 – explores the current landscape for women working in the automotive aftermarket industry and identifies organizational policies and procedures that both positively and negatively impact them.

“The AWAKE report is the first step in the right direction,” says Tony Canade, Chair of the AIA Board of Directors. “Leaders in our industry must pledge to take action as champions and ensure that we – the industry, the employer, the colleague – commit to removing barriers and change how women are viewed, treated and essentially under-utilized in the aftermarket industry.”

More information about AWAKE is available on AIA’s website, and online conversations on social media can be followed using #awakeAIA.