There are 2 adult women who race in my series, both in 100cc or LO206. There is one girl (fast as heck, basically the 2nd fastest kiddo) in TAG junior. There might be a girl or two in the kid karts and cadet.
Any idea why the ladies are so underrepresented?
I was telling my gymnast niece that she’d probably be really good at racing but she was like “meh”.
Traditional gender norms, whether subconsciously or not. Cars and motorsports have always been considered a “male thing”. Women weren’t even allowed to drive cars when they were invented. I think girls/women just haven’t been exposed to auto racing as much. Subliminally, most advertising or media directed toward a motorsport audience targets the male demographic.
I think it is becoming a lot more common, which is great. I think as more and more women get to top-tier racing, there will be more exposure for young girls who see it and are interested in pursuing the same path. Whether you love or hate her, Danica sure as hell influenced a lot of little girls to take an interest in racing.
I can say that my daughter races Mini Swift here in Texas. At our regional races there are another 3 girls in her class (there were 4, but the 4th moved onto Mini Sprint dirt oval). There are also 1 or 2 girls that run in the Micro Swift at the same regional races. At our track in New Braunfels (Hill Country Kart Club), there are at least 2 others that run LO206 and/or Micro Swift.
I think at the moment women continue to be under-represented in motorsport. However, I truly do think this problem is changing noticeably each and every year.
At the local level, we have both young girls and women competing in a variety of karting categories here in Colorado. Several of them are quite talented and beat up on the boys pretty regularly! In a kart or in racing, gender matters little, respect is earned between drivers based on their character and performance, not gender. I think as time continues, as society becomes more and more progressive and less regressive, more and more women will be seen throughout racing, not just karting.
It definitely seems to be changing, the micro and mini categories seem to have a higher percentage of girls (at club level) then I’ve ever seen which is a good sign going forward, althouggh anecdotal.
I thought there were some girls coming through (in cars) but the result haven’t really come like Tatiana Calderon and Marta Garcia. Jamie Chadwick won a British F3 race recently though and is a British GT champion. It is still a very male dominated sport and women drivers are unfortunately still partly judged on their looks. I’m really surprised Red Bull haven’t jumped on someone by now, it’d be a terrific marketing opportunity.
Susie Wolff (nee Stoddart) is trying to do more for female racing in the UK with her Dare to be Different program.
I’m not sure about North America, but British racing was a white male dominated sport and Lewis Hamilton created a lot interest for the non-white demographic, I assume Danica had a similar impact here and a championship winning lady would have a larger effect.
I know of several girls in karting in my local area and I hope in a couple of years, my daughter will want to take up karting. I think the reason, though, that there are no big (female) names in karting is because they move to cars and/or sprints too quickly if they are good.
I work in the skilled trades and I get ask all the time why more woman are not in skilled trades.
I could break their hearts and give them a blunt answer but I always turn the question around and ask them this…
If you want to know…“Why don’t you go straight to the source and ask woman why?”
Its the same for racing. People want a female in F1 bad just to prove a point but do you know how damn hard it is for ANYONE to make F1. So if 98% of racers are men and out of the 2% of woman that race there might be 0.2% that “could” have the talent for F1…the chance are very slim…Then add the difficulty of motorsport funding and you see how difficult it is for ANYONE to go far
If they want a female F1 driver they need to get more little girls racing. Its really just a statistical thing right now. I have no doubt a woman could be as good as man but when you have 10 woman racing and 10,000 men, of course you’re going to find more good men then women.
I think you don’t see many women in motorsports for the same reason you don’t see many men involved in the cosmetics industry. Sure, they’re there, but they’re the vast minority. It’s just not a guy thing, much in the same way racing isn’t really a girl thing… something, something, gender role/stereotype. Racing is technical, emotion needs to be left at home, and being aggressive and having a strong prey drive helps out a lot. None of that is typically regarded as female traits. Women are emotional, delicate, creative creatures, whereas men are more brutal and savage. Emotion has no place in motorsports and when it does rear its head and mixes with the other personality traits required to compete, you get shit like pit lane fights and helmet- throwing baby- fisted rage tantrums.
In talking with the women I’ve met over the years that have participated in male- dominated recreations and careers, most have said that they feel like the odd person out most of the time because sadly, men look down on them. Or at least that’s how they view their presence. They feel like they always have to be proving themselves in order to be accepted.
Mysogyny is unfortunately alive and well, either directed at or perceived by women. As a result, I think, most women don’t participate because they’re afraid of being looked at as having a chip on their shoulder or as being that girl that thinks she can hang with the boys. On a personal level, I gotta tell ya… that really, REALLY pisses me off. I think that if we want more women to compete, we need to openly invite them and encourage them to come out. Remind them that it’s not about winning, but just going out and having fun. Maybe let them buzz around a parking lot in a 206 with limited throttle travel, or an afternoon at the rental kart track to start. Something enough to let them feel the breeze without being an assault on the senses. Bring up personal development and how track skills directly translate to real- world survivability on the street on the morning commute. Racing improves the breed doesn’t just apply to inanimate objects.
That all having been said, my female accomplice ran a rig moving business out in the oil fields and worked on her semis as much as time allowed (talk about some gender role stories there), turns wrenches out in the shop with me and has a strong desire to be pit crew for me with the kart with the intention of driving either my shifter or her own 206. Lucky guy I am, and rare breed she is. We need more women like her, but will never see supply meet demand because that’s just not how most women are wired.