Women’s History Month Special: What Does The Ford Explorer Men’s Only Edition Ad Have To Do With A Woman’s Contribution To The First-Ever Automobile?

On Women’s Day 2023, Ford released an advertisement that at first looked like horribly-planned marketing. After all, releasing a video titled ‘Introducing the Ford Explorer Men’s Only Edition’ on Women’s day doesn’t really seem like the work of a marketing genius, or is it?

The Ford video starts off displaying a Black Ford Explorer that looks normal, but the narration goes, “For the first time ever, we’ve completely re-imagined the automobile. Introducing the Men’s Only Ford Explorer.” This continues to sound like it was designed to irk people on Women’s Day. The narrator goes on to say, “With no windshield wipers, no heater, no turn signals, no rearview mirror, no GPS, are you kidding?”

It is only after this that the twist comes in. The video goes on to say, “It’s missing all the parts created by women. This Women’s History Month, Ford salutes the visionary automotive work by women past, present, and future.”

In the end, the ironic seeming video was a creative way of stressing the importance of the contributions made by women. The fact is, women have contributed more to the automotive industry than generally thought of. With this campaign, Ford has drawn attention to a few of these women. 

In fact, a press release sent out by Ford named a few noteworthy names. This includes Stephanie Kwolek who invented brake pads, Gladys West for the invention of modern-day GPS in cars, Florence Lawrence who contributed to the development of brakes and turn signals, etc.

Even at Ford, there are several women who are making a difference. It includes Julia Matos, who is the D&R Director for the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Jackie DiMarco who is the vehicle programs director for the F-Series and the commercial truck business, and Nicole Herrera who is a CAE and Vibrations testing engineer, just to name a few.

While this video is certainly worthy of headlines, the message it drives is extremely important and cannot be ignored. The automobile industry is one that is mostly perceived to be male-dominant. The fact though, is that women have played an integral role in getting cars to where they are today and this can be traced all the way back to the very first internal-combustion automobile.

Way back in 1885, the first-ever internal combustion-powered automobile debuted. It was developed by Carl Benz. The development of the Motorwagen happened at a company called Benz & Cie which was formed with support from the dowry Carl Benz received from his wife Bertha’s family. However, as it turns out, Bertha Benz’s role didn’t end there.

Bertha Benz served as a field tester for the Motorwagen and contributed to the design by adding some components. She was the one who replaced the wooden brake pads with leather brake pads to improve braking performance. 

Oh, and it gets better. The first ever long-distance drive in a motor car was accomplished by Bertha Benz way back in 1888! She took her sons Richard and Eugen who were only 13 and 15 years old respectively and drove the Benz Patent Motorwagen from Mannheim to Pforzheim, which is a distance of about 106 kilometres. 

She did this without the permission of the authorities and without telling her husband. Alongside visiting her mother in Pforzheim, Bertha Benz undertook this adventurous drive to prove to her husband Carl Benz that his invention — the Automobile — should be marketed. As a result of this bold and historic roadtrip by a woman, we know automobiles as they are. 

The automobile industry might have been a few years backward today if Bertha Benz didn’t go on that roadtrip and push her husband to consider marketing his Motorwagen. So, the next time you have the urge to ask if a woman can drive, change a flat tyre, design automotive components, rebuild an engine, or race a car/motorcycle, just don’t! They have proven that they can!

Women have contributed a lot to the automotive industry in the past, are making contributions today, and will continue to do so in the future as well. DubiCars wishes you all a very happy and awareness-filled Women’s History Month.

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