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Ford Launches ‘Men’s Only’ Car on International Women’s Day – But It’s Not What You Think

The motor company has been praised for their marketing ploy on International Women’s Day.

A side by side of two Ford Explore's
Ford Motor Company

People are praising car company Ford for revealing a ‘men’s only car’ on International Women’s Day.

The manufacturer released an advertisement for a ‘Men’s Only’ Explorer – a vehicle missing any element designed by a woman. The ad is narrated by Bryan Cranston, who has been the voice of Ford advertisements since 2018.

The vehicle, which is not actually for sale, is missing brake and turning signals, a rearview mirror, windshield wipers, GPS, and a heater.

The advertisement aims to recognize women’s sometimes forgotten contributions to the automobile industry and show how modern car design would be incomplete without crucial parts designed by women.

According to womenshistory.org, actress Florence Lawrence created the ‘first car turn signal or ‘auto-signalling arm’ but did not patent her design. Her mother also invented a patent for windshield wipers in 1917.

Who are they celebrating?

Hedy Lamarr was an actress and inventor known for movies such as Samson and Delilah and for pioneering technology that would become the basis for many modern day systems, such as WiFi and Bluetooth, two systems that can be found in most modern cars and other technology.

Dorothy Levitt was one of Britain’s earliest female racing drivers, with the East End Women’s Museum calling her a ‘pioneer for female motorists.’ She was known for winning the Brighton Speed Trials in 1905 and publishing ‘The Woman and the Car: A Chatty Little Handbook For Women Who Want to Motor’. In this book, she suggests women hold a compact mirror and use it to see behind them. This is one of the first known uses of a rear-view mirror.

Gladys West was an American mathematician hired by the Navy whose work helped to design GEOSAT, according to brittanica.com, a satellite that could create models of the Earth’s surface. This eventually led to a program that could calculate the orbits of satellites and the exact shape of Earth, which is the technology needed for GPS systems.

Images of Florence Lawrence, Dr. Gladys West, Hedy Lamarr and Dorothy Levitt. Next to each image is their name and what they invented.
Many crucial elements to modern car technology were pioneered by women. Credit: Ford Motor Company

What do people think?

The controversial-sounding advertisement went down very well on social media, with people applauding Ford for their efforts to spotlight women’s contributions to the motor industry over the years.

Some users were initially led astray by the advertisement, falling for the misleading premise and slamming Ford for announcing a ‘men’s only’ car on a day meant for celebrating women, but then praised them as they realized the intention of the ad.

Others who did not necessarily watch the ad were laughing at it or criticizing it for the wrong reasons, believing that Ford was making a statement about the ‘what about men’ dialogue that happens during International Women’s Day.

A conversation that happens every International Women’s Day is ‘Where is the day for men?’, with many believing that International Men’s Day does not exist. This is a misconception – International Men’s Day happens every year on November 19th.

Although the ad is from 2023, it’s part of Ford’s ongoing efforts to celebrate women and their relationship with the motor industry. This includes their 2024 ad ‘Dear Car Girls’, a partnership with actress Sydney Sweeney and an annual ‘Ladies Day’ for Bronco owners in Nevada.

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