PROGRESS MADE THIS QUARTER
Skills Level-Up: Emails
We figured out how to access our Arvixe-hosted emails. They're no longer forwarded to our personal emails and answered from there. You can reach Dory at email@example.com, and Brij at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woman of the Week Series
We've had a good response to the WotW series. Formula E's official twitter account tweeted about Naomi's WotW (twice, including once on International Women's Day!), which extended our reach in a way that we're very grateful for. Our apologies that it's been a bit patchy; our personal lives got in the way of weekly interviews.
Scholarship and Sponsorship Fund
We're working on more efficient options to fill the fund without getting out the donations hat. The Zazzle store...it's an expensive way of running an online store, so very little of what y'all spend on merch actually ends up in the fund. We're in talks with a silk artist to make custom scarves (including a version that can be used as head scarves by the Muslim sisters and a modesty shawl for the breast-feeding sisters) for the store that will be appearing on the website in the next quarter. We're looking for people to print t-shirts, hoodies, etc. to replace the Zazzle option. If you know a motorsport-friendly t-shirt printer, please email us about them! Bonus points awarded if it's a business owned and run by a woman or a member of a traditionally marginalised group.
We realised that the best way to get kids excited about motorsport is to get them to participate. The basic model for this project will be to host family fun days in towns with karting tracks, have races for both kids and parents, and generally provide a good time for everyone. This will achieve several Sisterhood-orientated goals – provide cost-efficient karting days to get kids proficient before their parents invest in equipment; give everyone the opportunity to race against girls, and get used to seeing them as competitors; show a good cross-section of talent to bring up stars from the next generation. We're in discussions with people in the UK and Canada to get this going as a reality.
WHAT WE'RE PLANNING FOR THE NEXT QUARTER
We've had Bunmi from Gridpasses (who interviewed Danielle Murphy for WotW) write for us. Bunmi has been a part of the influence circle for the Sisterhood from the beginning. She's been my sounding board since the community was little more than an idea, and is a tour de force of Twitter introductions. We're also bringing Sarah on board as a contributor. When we get the store sorted out, her artwork will be on some of the shirts. She will also be writing for us.
On the subject...
If you have pieces written about women in motorsport, but can't find a motorsport media outlet to publish your article, give us a shout. We would love your content! Likewise, if you would like to interview a woman in the industry who you think is amazing, contact us; we would love to have her as a Woman of the Week.
Once the Sisterhood HQ is in Oxfordshire (should happen this quarter, all things being equal), we want to start games nights. As in, we rent a venue that has a kitchen and a liquor license, provide a meal and two beers, and play geeky games like 30 Seconds: Motorsport Edition. A small portion of the cover charge will be donated to the Scholarship/Sponsorship fund. The events will not be women-only; you're welcome to bring partners, friends, team-mates, etc. of both genders. Or show up in all-girl and all-guy teams and compete to see who's smarter. Whatever works for you.
There's only so much that anybody can do over the internet. I realised in January that I couldn't possibly run the Sisterhood from my hometown in Zimbabwe. I am in the process of organising a relocation to the UK to be closer to the action. Dory has come to Africa for a writer's retreat, and will be staying until the book is finished. She will continue to do interviews and research for the book (which is a novel about F1 culture) via Skype and email.
We've been talking about running courses since we started. We aim to have the first one online in June/July. The hitch has been that both Dory and I think what the community needs is training in feminism, but there's always such a backlash from the general social media public as soon as the F word is mentioned. Nobody else is running those courses, and the data show that there's a need for us as a sporting community to have these discussions. So we're coming to a compromise. We're writing courses about authenticity on social media and in sponsor selection, and handling salary and contract negotiations confidently, and dealing with rejection. These are properly applicable topics in feminism, and will hopefully be more interesting and informative than hardcore feminist theory.
Accounts on the Site
We want to start a 'get an account' function on the webpage. We won't charge for membership; we want it to just be a way of showing off your motorsport street cred and running a specialist CV. Kinda like LinkedIn for motorsport professionals. This is going to require some concerted tech effort, which will probably only be possible in April/May when I've written my exams (I'm busy doing a second bachelor's at the moment, and have more than a full course load this semester, which has been slowing me down).
We still want to have the Spa weekend. Wouldn't it be lovely to do the Spa 24hr with someone on hand to rub our aching feet and backs at the end of a hard day, and tidy up our ratty-looking hair before we head off to the track? Unfortunately, we've still not found a campsite to host us. I even tried writing to the Mairie (the mayor's office) of Spa-Francorchamps in (admittedly rather broken) French to ask about campsites. Nothing. If you know a campsite in Spa-Francorchamps who would like to host about 150 people (Sisterhood, plus partners, friends, and/or children), please email us about them?
Hair for Equality
Not something that's technically happening this coming quarter, but it came to our attention since I wrote the last CEO's Report. Apparently some teams (no names mentioned) hire traditional barbers to give their male employees party hair for their Christmas parties, leaving the women to fend for themselves. For sure, there are bigger feminist issues than party hair. However, we're in the fairness game, so if it happens again we will arrange for a hairdresser (or a team of hairdressers) to give girls from those teams stylish up-dos. We'll tweet about it in a way that doesn't slander the teams with the unfair party benefit schemes, but makes it clear who's doing the work and making their women feel welcome in the industry.
We're really super-happy to have all the new followers/likers on board. Thank you all for supporting us this early in the journey! We hope to see you at events this year.
The Motorsport Sisterhood was officially founded on 15th September, 2015. It was a concept for far longer than that, but 15th September was when we got an official facebook page. Dory (the writer and social media mastermind) and I have discussed this at length and decided that I should document our way through the start-up process. The suggested format was a CEO's blog.
We want to play an open hand with everyone in the Sisterhood, so you know what we've done, what we plan to do, and where we're headed. We've got some exciting things planned over the next year, and a blog is the best way we know how to keep y'all up-to-date. Hence, I'm here, writing this to you to keep you in the loop about what's happening here at Sisterhood HQ.
PROGRESS MADE THIS QUARTER
Set up the webpage and social media presence
These days, nothing is a thing without a webpage. It took a while to wrangle Arvixe (our web host...big up to them, they're amazing) into submission. Since neither Dory nor I have mad coding skillz, we opted to go with Weebly as a design package. It's a great drag-and-drop interface that saves us paying an official designer to do the work for us (read: more money left over to sponsor). Neither of us have worked out how to use Arvixe's webmail interface, so if you email us at our @motorsportsisterhood.org addresses, it gets forwarded to our Gmail accounts and replied from there. We are working on this.
We have a Facebook page, a Twitter, a Tumblr, and a Pinterest. We apologise for the low rate of activity on the accounts; I'm juggling Sisterhood with a full-time job, a burgeoning art career, and a second degree; Dory is juggling a full-time job, and a book that is taking far more energy and mental health than she had anticipated.
Began set-up of the scholarship and sponsorship funds
We have made contact with a sponsorship agency to provide introductions for drivers until we have enough money to sponsor them ourselves. Contact us via email@example.com or one of our social media outlets if you're seeking sponsorship. We'll do our best to hook you up.
We are in discussions with an entity to broker scholarships for women in motorsports. That entity cover the UK, so we are negotiating for scholarships to South African universities to start our scholarship program off (and increase the number of women of colour in the industry, since motorsport is, at present, almost a complete white-wash).
Started the Woman of the Week series
We interview a different woman each week with the goal of providing positive female role models to girls/women aspiring to work in motorsport. Studies have shown that having positive role models decreases stereotype threat (which manifests in motorsport and STEM fields as "women are bad at driving/maths/science" and negatively affects women's performance at work). We want to further women's careers by highlighting how great they are, and there's the simultaneous benefit of decreasing stereotype threat. Win-win.
WHERE WE'RE GOING IN THE NEXT QUARTER
Scholarship and sponsorship fund
We hope to have applications open for the scholarships before March. We're also pushing for more sponsorship opportunities. What would y'all think of a series featuring women racers seeking sponsorship (Sponsor-Seeking Saturdays)? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, post in the comments, or get in touch with one of our social media accounts if you'd like to be featured as part of this.
Promoting our followers
If you're a woman in motorsport, and you'd like us to big up your internet presence, get in touch! We'd love to pin pics/articles of you on our Pinterest, retweet you, reblog you, share your posts, etc. We'd love to feature you as a Woman of the Week, or on Sponsor-Seeking Saturday. This was set up to be a community that supported each other. If you want support, reach out!
I did one edition of Soulcare Sundays a few months back. My current degree is in theology, and I often feel like there's a complete dearth of content on this theme in the industry. The response was, as Katherine Legge would put it, "crickets". Literally nobody clicked the link within a week of my posting it.
Since then, people have been searching the tag (yay Weebly's click tracker software!), so we're thinking of resurrecting this idea. What sorts of topics would y'all like to hear about? As above, email/tweet/FB/tumblr chat me with your topic requests.
Soft skills/personal development courses
Further to my suspicion that motorsport would be far healthier if we taught people soft skills (handling rejection, taking criticism like a pro, constructive conflict resolution, bringing humour to sexist attacks, etc.), we'd like to run a six-week course on these topics.
I know several drivers who have totally fallen apart after losing their drives; I'd like to armour our community with skills for dealing with these situations that are inevitable if you're in the industry for long enough. We will be offering a handful of financial hardship scholarships, so get in touch if you want to learn these skills but don't have £100 to hand in the short term.
Technically, this will be happening in the summer, not before March, but best to get the word out while there's still time for everyone to apply for leave and save those pennies. We are in discussions to book out a camp site, have a glamping and catering company do the hard work so our attendees don't need to drag tents and cooking equipment across Europe, and have negotiated a 10% discount in both grandstand tickets and VIP tickets for the Blancpain Spa 24Hr. We are also in discussions with several hair and beauty practitioners to provide massages, mani-pedis, facials, etc. to make the Spa Weekend a spa weekend in all senses of the word.
See you in the comments, on Twitter/FB/Tumblr/Pinterest!
Hey Sisterhooders, my name is Anonymous Sisterhood Tweeter, or AST for short. (I was going to go with 'Anonymous Sisterhood Social Media Manager', but realised the acronym for that was 'ASSMM', and I didn't want to be called 'ass' anything.) I'm the person you're speaking to when you email email@example.com, use a contact form on this website, or contact us via the social media accounts. And wow, do I love hearing from you all!
Unlike Brij, I'm not really comfortable with my name, face, and identity being available on the internet. However, we at the Sisterhood believe that social media accounts should have personality, so I thought I would share some things about myself.