Who runs the auto world? Girls.

By Vijay Mar 15, 2021

Women have been clearing the way for safe and comfortable journeys since as early as the 19th century. Which is why every year on International Women's Day (and every other day of the year, to be honest), we believe it's important to think about the women who made the auto industry what it is today – a powerful, fast-moving beast.

Women have had a BIG role to play in the auto industry

While in Australia, women account for a measly 2.5 percent of all auto tradespeople, they actually plated an enormous part in shaping the cars we drive today, helping to pave the path to a sleeker, smoother and safer journey for all of us.

In fact, it was women who helped build the auto industry from the ground up, piece by piece.

And we invite you to learn more about the impact these incredible figures have had on the vehicles we know and love today.

Here are 7 women who helped drive the automotive industry:

1. Bertha Benz

The Mercedes Benz was financed (and named after) a woman – the very same woman who completed the first ever road trip in 1888 – Bertha Benz.

2. Florence Lawrence

We have a woman to thank for the invention of indicators and brake lights. In 1914, silent-film star and inventor Florence Lawrence got fed up with unpredictable drivers and created the first auto signalling arm.

3. Margaret A. Wilcox

Mechanical engineer, Margaret A. Wilcox, became a pioneer of frost-free windscreens when she invented and patented the very first car heater in 1893, unlocking a whole new level of driving comfort.

4. Dr Gladys West

The person who developed the advanced mathematics that paved the way for the car GPS (via her mathematical modelling of the world) was American mathematician, Dr Gladys West.

5. Alice Ramsey

Not only was she the first woman to drive across the United States from coast to coast in 1909 but Alice Ramsey founded the first Women's Motoring Club. And in 2000, she because the first woman to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame (a milestone that was long overdue).

6. Mary Anderson

Before she was legally allowed to vote, Mary Anderson invented the beloved wiper blade in 1903. Unfortunately, due her being a woman (and a single one at that), she was unable to secure a manufacturing partner for her design and the patent expired...17 years later.

7. Charlotte Bridgwood

But it was Mary who paved the way forward for Charlotte Bridgwood – the president of her own NYC-based manufacturing company – who built on Anderson's initial idea to create the first automatic windscreen wipers in 1913. And the rest, as we know is history (one that tends to downplay the achievements of female automotive figures).

Suffice to say, we have many women to thank.

More specifically, for shaping the sleek, safe, smart, smooth and crystal clear driving experiences we enjoy today.

And that's just the beginning. You can read about more formidable women here, here and here.

Extra information we've previously gathered about Charlotte and Mary can be found here. You can also learn about the importance of International Women's Day right here.

Feeling empowered to make history yourself?

You should be, because you can do anything. Including equipping your vehicle with the best wiper blades you've ever experienced. In fact, you can make Mary and Charlotte proud by doing it yourself in minutes, no assistance required.

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Vijay Sitaram is a car lover at heart and has spent the last 12 years fitting, designing, testing and thinking about wiper blades. He holds a Bachelor's degree and honours in Automotive Engineering from RMIT University and is the founder of Wipertech, Australia's #1 rated Vehicle Accessory store. You can find Vijay on LinkedIn here.

Posted by
Vijay Mar 15, 2021
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