POWER Q&A: Georgia Shiels, rally cross driver, engineering student and motorsport broadcaster

FUTURE LIST

How is NPW different from other groups promoting gender equality?
I got into racing at 16 years old and refused to join any groups that were women-only because, being a woman in a male-dominated space, I didn’t want to be segregated any more than I was already.

When I came across NPW I saw how many men were involved and supporting it – that’s what we need to become really equal, rather than segregate ourselves even more. In racing we have ‘First Lady Driver’ trophy awards but not ‘First Male Driver’, so I’m up for anything that’s about equality, but never segregation.

All the men and women here are so passionate, all for the same goal of achieving equality.

How do you accelerate gender diversity in your everyday practice?
I’m studying engineering at the moment, I’m going into my third year, which of course is another male-dominated area – and I miss girls. I just want some girlfriends at Uni – that’s all I want!

So, I’m a STEM Ambassador and go into schools and chat to students to say: “Listen, you can become an engineer”, to explain what it is. I don’t think people know what it is. At the moment, with the issue of unemployment among graduates, engineering is a great basis because it’s the core of anything.

Also, with my racing, it’s just getting the message across by chatting to young girls at races who see you out there, and encouraging dads to take their daughters racing and not just their sons. It’s so important to get the message out there that girls can go racing. My dad took my brother racing when we were young, because my dad watched Formula One and didn’t see any women other than grid girls. We need to show the female mechanics and female chief engineers to let young girls see they can do it. You rely on your parents to show you the world, so getting the message to parents is just as important as to youngsters.

by Carolyn Howgego

Carolyn Howgego is a PR consultant, media relations specialist and content creator powered by Northern Power Women.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolynhowgego/
@CarolynHowgego

Georgia Shiels is a member of our Future List. Read more about Georgia here

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