Eight out of ten women believe favouritism towards males is still rife when promotion is on the cards, and three-quarters have experienced discrimination first-hand, according to research by employment law firm Peninsula.
But successful women in the industry think it is up to women themselves to change the age-old attitudes to sexual discrimination.
Sue Brownson, managing director of AM100 dealer Blue Bell Group, said: “It’s down to us as to what we want to do.
If you work to the same ability as everybody else, then there’ll be a clear indication that you are not discriminated against.
“If a female works in the motor trade, they are possibly at a disadvantage, but if you enhance the value of yourself and what you can achieve, nothing should hold you back.”
Brownson, who says she has never experienced discrimination, thinks that women are an important part of the industry in today’s society, with 44% of car buyers being female.
Sharon Taylor, recruitment consultant at auto-motive consultancy BTC, agrees with Brownson: “If women can prove they can do the job, I don’t think men discriminate.
“Work as hard as a man does, and deal with things in a business-orientated way and it will be evident that you are just as capable for a promotion as your male equivalent.”
High-positioned females in the motor trade can only benefit attitudes towards women, said David Combes, managing director of motor trade law specialists Lawgistics.
He said the most likely problems would occur between service receptionists and technicians, who may feel they can take liberties.
“Unless you have policies in place for such discrimination, you can’t deal with issues when they arise and, as a company, you can be fined,” Combes added.