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FeaturesSafety and solidarity: why women need female-only car meets

Safety and solidarity: why women need female-only car meets

It was wonderful to overhear women talking so passionately.

Rebecca Treston tells Charlotte Vowden why she thinks its important to create spaces exclusively for women within the car community.

To mark International Womens Day Rebecca Treston, the classic car podcaster, held a female-only car meet. Here we bring you the chat she had with Charlotte Vowden about herself, her podcast and what the future might hold….  

Tell me a bit about you…

I’m probably best described as a busybody. I record a podcast in my Morris Minor about my experiences of classic car ownership and issues I see within the scene and also invite others to come along for the ride as my passenger so that they can share their own. I run the Morris Minor Young Owners Register with Nathaniel Tegg and generally try to enjoy myself by getting to as many car events as I can.

Safety and solidarity: why women need female-only car meets

You seem pretty outgoing…

I’ve been fortunate to have a very positive experience within the scene but I’m really aware that some people don’t get that lucky and that it can be nerve-wracking to attend an event for a range of reasons. When I started going to shows and club events without my family I was lucky to have my partner come along with me but not everyone will have that and not knowing anyone can be tough. I want to be that familiar face and help others overcome those scenarios.

Why is International Womens Day important?

Safety and solidarity: why women need female-only car meets

The automotive world has a unique history with women. In the early days of motorsport there was relative equality; women raced against men and won gold medals in the Olympics doing so. Over time though it became male-dominated so I think it’s important to mark the day, partially to remember those amazing trailblazing women, but also to keep carving out our mark on the scene. It’s been wonderful to see women getting recognition in automotive journalism, racing and content creation but also making sure they uplift others who are trying to find their place too.  

What did you want to achieve by setting up a female-only car meet?

Safety and solidarity: why women need female-only car meets

I’ve found so many wonderful and inspirational women on social media but if you’d like support or reassurance about an experience you’ve had, or want to seek advice about something, it can be a little awkward to reach out to someone online so I wanted to create an event that would bring women together in person. Shows can be a lonely place for a female car owner, especially is youre shy or nervous; often people assume it’s your partner or dad’s car, and start talking to them instead of you. It can also be a struggle to spot other women in the crowd. I wanted my female-only car meet to be something that would allow a group of women to feel safe as they get to know each other, and comfortable enough to be unabashedly passionate about cars, free of judgement. There are plenty of events out there for everyone, so the occasional gathering just for women is an enriching opportunity.

So, how did it go?

I was really pleased with how natural a female-only meet felt. Enthusiasm in the run-up was reassuring and on the day women poured out of their cars and immediately started talking. I’d brought sticky labels for people to write their names and social media handles on so that it would make introductions a bit easier and soon everyone was talking as if they’d known each other for years – which was good as the labels weren’t as sticky as I’d hoped and many of them fell off! 

What was the hot topic of conversation?

Cars! It was wonderful to overhear women talking so passionately, sharing stories of adventures, fixes they’d found, events they got planned and so much more. 

Were there any standout moments?

There are two. The first is when one woman told me that the female-only event had made her feel empowered enough to travel across the country by herself on public transport and that she was going to book her theory test so she might be able to drive herself to the next one. The second is when someone said she’d struggled to motivate herself to socialise with her cars, especially since the pandemic, but her and her girlfriend knew they’d feel welcome at my event. Im so happy that the space I created was respected by others and didn’t get gatecrashed or spoken negatively about online or in real life. Interestingly we were also approached by two young men who were university students. They had heard about the event online and wanted to interview some of the women there for their coursework where they had chosen to focus on Women in Automotive – it was a reassuring sign of good things to come that two young journalism students were interested in our stories. 

Any women youd like to give a shoutout to?

All of them! The fact so many of them travelled independently, or some distance, in cars they keep on the road themselves is inspirational. One woman spoke to me about the fact that she sometimes sees women driving their awesome cars out and about, looking so cool, but wouldn’t know how to meet them and form a friendship. I’d like to remind all the women there that they are that woman looking effortlessly awesome, be that at an event, when they drive along the motorway, park up at a supermarket or even when they’re attempting a roadside fix to get home. 

Whats next?

It was made quite apparent by everyone there that they wanted another event, perhaps more often than annually, and there was a definite outcry for a safe online space too so I guess that’s my next project!

Follow Becca @thepassengerseatpodcast
Instagram – The Passenger Seat Podcast

To learn more about International Womens Day, visit 
International Womens Day


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