Women of Color and Technology in the Economy: The Auto Industry

Today, January 14th marks the start of the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit. I’ve lived in Detroit my entire 21 years in life. In addition, Detroit has hosted an auto show for over a century. In 1987, the show officially became international in it’s scope and mission. However with this event, when it comes to women, we are easily reminded how technology is traditionally shaped by societal views.  In the article “Feminist theories of technology” by Judy Wacjman, she argued “it is imperative that women are involved throughout the processes and practices of technological innovation.” In response, I agree because how can we truly build an international movement when the voices of 50% of the population are no where to be heard?

With women and person’s of color being least likely to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering, and math it is expected to realize that they are exceedingly behind in global economy when it comes to technology. After viewing the Committee’s history, it is imperative to note that practically there hasn’t been very little, if any women or people of color who has helped with the organization of the event as a chairwoman or a position of higher power. I agree to Wajcman argument in which she states the ways in which technology is shaped by societal “gender relations.” Let us imagine, how the Floor Models who are viewed as tools and also the ways in which each has personally encountered some form of the gender stereotypes and stigmas of women contributions often associated with involvement in the auto industry. I would like to also challenge one to address the argument in how “masculinity and femininity in turn acquire their meaning and character through their…embeddedness in working machines”

At the International Auto Show, women do seem to be viewed as “tools” because their beauty helps market the cars and attract the attention of potential clients, buyers, and investors. There are sexualized, exploited, and put up for sale as a marketing tool. In fact, it is very politically strategic in nature. However, the people who are in charge and in control are considered the master minds which happens to be traditionally white wealthy influential men.

Browse the site http://www.naias.com/, and judge for yourself whether you think the news releases, videos and images pertaining to the 2013 show invite women’s engagement, and if so in what ways — for example as designers, engineers, consumers, or marketing models?

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