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Being a woman in engineering: Claire the F1 Team Deputy Principle

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, D2BD Ambassador

What challenges have you faced in the industry?

Well, I’ve never wanted people to think I’ve got where I am in my job because of my name. I’ve always worked twice as hard as anyone else. This has been to show that I’m where I am on merit and not because of my bloodline. But Formula One is very much like that. It is such a competitive industry that people only progress due to talent and hard work. No matter what your last name, if you aren’t performing then you won’t get very far. It’s definitely a meritocracy in that respect.

What advice would you give for girls focusing on male-dominated careers?

It depends on the male-dominated avenue you want to work in. Essentially anything that makes you stand out and shows a demonstrable interest in your chosen field. As a rule of thumb, always be prepared to work hard and go the extra mile. A job in Formula One, for example, is very sought after with a lot of competition, so you have to be prepared to plot your path to the top. This may include proving yourself in other industries or feeder series before making the jump to Formula One. The industry can be quite small, so if you impress then you are going to be well set for getting the job you want eventually, and this is likely the same for many other lines of work.

Why is it important to challenge the stereotypes of the job?

The more women that are visible in senior roles at the top of their respective industries, the more likely that other women will start to think that a particular industry is something they can, and should, consider for their career. The only way to change these stereotypes is for there to be more female role models to inspire young girls to take up their chosen careers.

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