Home » Ford Marks International Women’s Day With Cheeky ‘Men’s Only’ Ford Explorer

Ford Marks International Women’s Day With Cheeky ‘Men’s Only’ Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer Mens Only Topshot
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It’s International Women’s Day, and Ford is marking the occasion with a PR stunt called the Ford Explorer “Men’s Only” Edition. That’s an attention-grabbing name but there’s a very good reason for it. My previous experience with the current Explorer isn’t exactly positive, but Ford’s made this one even worse by removing all the inventions that aren’t linked to women. Stuff like the rear-view mirror, wipers, turn signals, brake lights, the heater, and GPS. Sounds a bit miserable, yeah? Let’s watch Ford’s video, then go over women’s contributions to those six features to detail a little bit of history.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Dorothy Levitt, pictured below, helped popularize the concept of the rear-view mirror with a suggestion in her 1909 book Women and the Car: A Chatty Little Handbook for all Women who Motor or Who Want To Motor using a fairly low-tech solution. Levitt suggested that women should carry a hand mirror in the cabin and “hold the mirror aloft from time to time in order to see behind while driving in traffic.” While aftermarket solutions and optional extras would later be available, arguably the next big development came in Dorothee Pullinger’s Galloway 10/20 of 1920, a car built by women for women, which is said to have come with a rear-view mirror as standard.

Dorothy Levitt

Seeing where you’ve been goes hand-in-hand with seeing where you’re going, and inventor Mary Anderson is largely agreed to be the first person to patent an operational windshield wiper system for cars in America. Her innovation was mechanical and lever-operated, so it’s not quite like the automated wipers we see today, but it paved the way for seeing clearly in the rain.

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Canadian-American actor and first movie star ever Florence Lawrence is widely agreed to have pioneered an early form of turn signal and a brake signal in 1914. Lawrence’s “auto signalling arm” was pushbutton-operated and paired with a stop indicator that popped up at the back of her vehicle when the brake pedal was depressed. Although she never patented her inventions, it’s easy to consider them an early form of the signals we see on every car today.

Explorer Mens Only Heater Patent

Moving to the cabin, inventor Margaret A. Wilcox patented the fuel-powered vehicle cabin heater way back in 1893. Her early design had some minor details to work out like temperature regulation, but no early invention is ever perfect. With several years of refinement, Wilcox’s system was installed in vehicles starting in 1917. A few years later, Ford decided to use her heating system in the 1929 Model A and the rest is history.

Let’s jump forward to World War II. America was thinking of building radio-controlled torpedoes, but sticking to a single radio frequency would’ve made them susceptible to jamming. To solve this, film star and inventor Hedy Lamarr got together a team and developed spread-spectrum frequency-hopping guidance. Well after the war, the principles of her and her team’s work went into secure Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and another technology commonly found in cars today: GPS navigation.

Dr Gladys West

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Lamarr wasn’t the only woman whose contributions played a crucial role in developing GPS. Mathematician Dr. Gladys West, pictured above, programmed an IBM 7030 Stretch computer to crunch the numbers and help model the Geoid, the exact shape of the planet we all live on. Her model was so accurate that it became the backbone of GPS, helping discern where an object was relative to satellites. If you’ve ever had a GPS system bail you out of being totally lost, Hedy Lamarr and Dr. Gladys West helped build the foundation for it.

Beyond recognizing women’s historical contributions to automotive innovation, Ford is using social media to honor women on its team like Jackie DiMarco, Vehicle Programs Director for F-Series and Commercial Trucks; Cynthia Flanigan, Chief Engineer of Hardware Integration in Vehicle Hardware Engineering; Nicole Herrera, Computer Aided Engineering and Vibration Testing Engineer; and Julia Matos, Mustang Mach-E Design and Release Engineer.

Explorer Mens Only Edition

For the sake of enthusiasm’s future, the stereotypical view of cars as a masculine hobby or industry should change. From road trip pioneer Bertha Benz to rally legend Michèle Mouton to Nissan 350Z design manager Diane Allen, the contributions of women in the automotive industry and community deserve to be recognized, and we should create a safe and welcoming space for people of all genders to express their love of the machine. After all, The Autopian was founded as the ultimate car site for the people. All people.

Above gender, race, creed, sexuality, where you come from, who your parents were, and what’s in your bank account, there’s one thing that ties us all together – we love cars. The more people that do, the better. Shoutout to the women who live and breathe cars. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to have this automotive passion given some of the outdated attitudes in the hobby. If you’re reading this and are not a woman, consider asking yourself what you can do to make automotive passion and community more welcoming for women. It could be as private as telling your car buddies that something they said wasn’t cool. Together, we can all build a better future for the hobby. Who wouldn’t want that?

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[Mercedes’ Note: Happy International Women’s Day! Today we celebrate all of the great things accomplished by women over the years. You can find a woman’s touch all over the automotive world from the aforementioned vehicle inventions to the incredible Combo Cruiser, a boat that was also a camper which was constructed entirely by women. And don’t forget American heroes like Mae Jemison, an engineer, physician, and the first Black woman in space! There’s also racer, fabricator, and the fastest woman on Earth, Jessi Combs, may she rest in peace. Here’s to a future full of more accomplishments from women the world over.]

(Photo credits: Ford)

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PlatinumZJ
PlatinumZJ
1 year ago

That was good!! XD I’ve been in my current job as a mechanical engineer for almost 16 years; except for a few years just prior to the pandemic, I’ve been the only woman in the department. Being acknowledged like this is nice.

Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
1 year ago
Reply to  PlatinumZJ

Even more infuriating than the low figures of women choosing careers in engineering/tech because of how male-centric the filed is, is the fact that in many fields women were extremely relevant in the early stages, and ended up excluded because of how their work ethic made their male counterparts look bad. And of course, that still happens to this day.

I have two female friends who gave up on their careers in electronics and civil engineering because they couldn’t deal with the overwhelmingly male work environment, which meant constant harassment, never getting any credit for their work, and lots of hostility and sabotage, because even with all those constraints their productivity was noticeably higher and the frat bros around them had to find ways to not look bad without actually working harder.

One of my friends basically did all the work in a months-long, high-profile project, working crazy hours with the promise of a promotion at the end. The project was co-signed by two male colleagues; one of them got her promotion, which meant that he’d become her supervisor, and the other was transferred to another ongoing project as PM. At this point she made a fuss about it and higher ups straight up told her her colleagues had reported her as difficult to work with (they never actually worked together, she just agreed that they’d be co-signing on her then-supervisor’s request – the same supervisor who then covered for those other guys, despite knowing she had done all the work). This resulted in her getting a warning for bad conduct, with the fact that she complained being taken into account as proof that she was indeed hard to work with. She ended up quitting a few months later, because of course she did. They broke her. Neither this friend nor the other I mentioned, whose experience in the field was bad but not as bad, consider ever going back, despite loving the work itself and being good at it. Also, it should be noted, I started writing thinking of only one of those friends, and suddenly the second one popped up in my mind. I was going to talk of one anecdotal example and realised I had two mid-writing.

Sorry for the rant and thanks for your work.

FuzzyPlushroom
FuzzyPlushroom
1 year ago

Glad to see most of our community has their heads on straight, as I would’ve hoped and expected. The few, the loud, will always be loud.

For my part, I’ll mention Lucy O’Reilly Schell and recommend the book upon which that article’s based.

Ron888
Ron888
1 year ago

Luckily i was impatient and jumped straight to the ad.It’s best without an intro.Well done Ford! Hilarious,then very cool

Dsa Lkjh
Dsa Lkjh
1 year ago

I was once on a team designing a new engine for an OEM and that team was half women. We didn’t make a big thing out of it at the time, but that’s the only engineering project I’ve ever worked on that wasn’t mostly men, and that’s really sad.

When I started in engineering there was special emphasis placed on attracting women to the industry, 30 years later and we’re a long way from not having an obvious male bias. We’re still working on it.

My engineering design hero is Beatrice Shilling. In 1941 she designed a fix for the Spitfire’s problem with the engine cutting out in negative g manoeuvres, which is a cool bit of work, but then went out and fixed the planes herself.

She also raced cars and motorcycles and refused to marry her husband until he had also been awarded the Brooklands Gold Star for lapping the circuit at over 100 mph, like she had.

Marteau
Marteau
1 year ago

The comment section of this article on thedrive is the most toxic thing i’ve red in a while. White cis boomers are the worst thing in this community, it’s disgusting.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
1 year ago
Reply to  Marteau

It’s not just boomers here with the troglodyte viewpoints, there are idiot Gen X & younger regressive morons, too.

Tommy Helios
Tommy Helios
1 year ago

Was really hoping the comment section of this post would be devoid of the takes below. We need to be better y’all. We all enjoy the camaraderie of cars and if we are not welcoming to everyone it will make our hobby and life that much duller. So let us all work on making this site a place that reaches out and gives those individuals a home.

Tl;Dr – if you want a partner who is into your hobby and wrenches with you or goes to car events maybe be nice to them

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 year ago

Congrats on turning international womans day into a joke. Starting out highlighting questionable contributions to support them and the cost of weakening real quality work of women. Not sure if you are trying to damage real women accomplishments or trying to fake accomplishments. But Levitz helped popularize the concept of a rear view mirror? Not inventing it. Then Anderson made popular the windshield wiper in America. Yes it was available elsewhere she said hey that is a good idea. She didnt invent it or improve it just said hey thats a good idea. Now every idea design invention mentioned later were great ideas and inventions from incredible women. But Thomas didnt think their work was enough. Or he thought they needed his manly support to be enough to support women. Frankly like most liberals he has cut dowb real heroes to support himself. These women and many others have accomplished many things they dont need someone using semantics and fake support. It just takes amazing women down.

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Well this is a well nuanced and intelligent take from a clearly rational individual. /s

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
1 year ago

Were you unfamiliar with his work here & at the old place?

Lucky you!

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
1 year ago

I think I’d seen some of his ignorance before but hadn’t registered him as a repeat offender. It’s always good to know who the vermin are.

Tristan Hixon
Tristan Hixon
1 year ago

I see one named Chris right here!

Tristan Hixon
Tristan Hixon
1 year ago
Reply to  Tristan Hixon

Oh shit, I missed that your reply was to a reply. Sorry!

Mark Jacob
Mark Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I haven’t seen a take this bad in a long time – well done.

Brandon Flater
Brandon Flater
1 year ago

Love this, I think it is great to take a step back and realize how many, vitally important, things have been contributed to the automotive industry by women. Not to mention every other way they contribute positively to the world we live in. Happy International Women’s Day! The rest of you that think that’s not worth taking literally one day out of the year; in which you could simply just sit back and not say anything, should probably do yourself a favor and sit down. You are lucky to have any women in your life, they deserve better than you.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 year ago

I’m sure this is maybe too much of a deep read, but I chuckled at how I’ve seen men refuse to use each of those things in their vehicles. And that the illustrative vehicle is the blacked out would-be-badass-but-come-on-it’s-still-an-SUV version is just icing on the owned! cake.

Data
Data
1 year ago

Souma Yergon, Sou Nou Yergon
We are shakin’ the tree
Souma Yergon, Sou Nou Yergon
We are shakin’ the tree

Waiting your time, dreaming of a better life
Waiting your time, you’re more than just a wife
You don’t have to do what your mother has done
She has done, this is your life, this new life has begun

It’s your day, a woman’s day
It’s your day, a woman’s day

Souma Yergon, Sou Nou Yergon
We are shakin’ the tree
Souma Yergon, Sou Nou Yergon
We are shakin’ the tree

Turning the tide, you are on the incoming wave
Turning the tide, you know you are nobody’s slave
Find your sisters or brothers who can hear all the truth in what you say
They can support you when you’re on your way

It’s your day, a woman’s day
It’s your day, a woman’s day

Peter Gabriel – Shaking the Tree

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
1 year ago

“That’s Hedley Lamarr” (RIP Harvey Korman)

That’s a pretty damn funny commercial and I admit I didn’t see that twist coming. Well done, Ford. Also, how have I never heard of Florence Lawrence before? Thanks for the education, Thomas!

JDE
JDE
1 year ago

never really understood the idea of fighting ideals related to excluding a group of people by having a day of excluding the other group.

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

If your main takeaway from things like International Women’s Day is “they’re excluding me,” take some time to reflect. Thomas directly emphasizes the point that these types of events do include everyone: “If you’re reading this and are not a woman, consider asking yourself what you can do to make automotive passion and community more welcoming for women.”

These events are designed to create awareness of two simultaneous realities: 1) everyone ought to be welcome in the automotive community, and 2) everyone isn’t.

That first reality ought to be self-evident. That second reality exists, whether you’ve personally experienced it or not. It’s being queer and having your ride called “gay” or a “chick car”. It’s being black and seeing confederate flags in the stands at races ranging from the local dirt track to NASCAR. It’s being a woman who has to start every sentence with “my boyfriend said” for dealership techs to take your mechanical diagnoses seriously. And that’s just the more blatant, apparent stuff I can spitball.

International Women’s Day doesn’t exclude you. No one is naive enough to genuinely believe that this community is free of misogyny in all its subtle, pernicious, and routine forms.

Exclusion really is often subtle, pernicious, and routine. Sure, sometimes it’s one blatant event, but often people are driven away from the hobbies and communities they love because of repeated nudges that who they are is somehow incompatible with the fabric of a community. And it sucks.

JDE
JDE
1 year ago

actually I take away an old adage, two wrongs do not make a right, but think whatever you want, you apparently were raised in the Fight Fire with Fire group.

Andrew Baglio
Andrew Baglio
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

And two dumb comments don’t make a smart one. Maybe try for a third and see if that get’s you any further

MK801
MK801
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

You must be really fun at birthday parties

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

DCOTD
Dumbest Comment Of The Day.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

Congrats on the worst possible take!

I hope the new commenting system has a downvote button & a blocking function to filter out shit like that.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
1 year ago

Shit, I spoke too soon – tacotruckdave has weighed in with an even worse take! (I should have have seen that coming.)

Russ Toelke
Russ Toelke
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

There’s a women’s day.
One of 365.
That there has to be a Women’s Day implies the other 364 are something else. Hmmm, who could that be?
“Men’s days.”
Go to the head of the class!

Ineffable
Ineffable
1 year ago
Reply to  Russ Toelke

Uhhh. Dude there are at least 70 other genders.

Anyways like the idea of the ad but the execution is a little hollow and divisive to be inspiration.

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
1 year ago
Reply to  Ineffable

Annnnddddd we have another moronic comment.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

Because 99.99% of the time the other other group (women) are NOT given any credit. It is essentially a given that any time any invention, innovation, or forward looking item is mentioned, it is assumed it was done by a man, not a woman. Until and unless we know and understand that not everything was innovated by a man, we all are more educated.

JDE
JDE
1 year ago
Reply to  Knowonelse

you misunderstand, I am all for celebrating any particular group, I am just not of the mindset that excluding another group in doing so is the best way to do it.

Citrus
Citrus
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

Nobody is being excluded. Celebrating one group does not mean that another group is being discounted. It just means one group is being celebrated.

In this case, that group is women, whose contributions to engineering are traditionally downplayed and who were, historically, excluded from STEM careers in spite of being equally qualified. For some personal history, my sister and two cousins were two of the rare women in their class and their fields – chemical engineering – and they had to fight harder to get their contributions recognized. So yeah, give them a day where they are actually celebrated in their field instead of pushed down.

Many of us are in groups that are marginalized in some way. And those of us who are marginalized do deserve recognition. In this case, it’s women. Last month, it was Black History Month – another necessary month to highlight achievements that were otherwise pushed aside or credited to someone else. In June, you get my month, Pride month, where we get to be proud of our sexuality in spite of the world trying to make us ashamed of ourselves. Those are three examples.

Nobody is saying there is anything wrong with being a straight cisgender white man. But you don’t have to deal with systems pushing your contributions and identity down. If you feel that celebrating someone else who isn’t regularly celebrated is pushing you down, take a moment of reflection and consider why you feel that. And let the rest of us have opportunities to have our contributions recognized and celebrated – because this is a celebration, not a denial.

Tristan Hixon
Tristan Hixon
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

How did any of this exclude men, pray tell?

Brandon Flater
Brandon Flater
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

JDE, celebrating one group doesn’t mean you are excluding anyone. To show what mean, think about an adult (or really any person at all) at a child’s birthday shouting: “BUT I ALSO HAVE A BIRTHDAY! WHAT ABOUT MY BIRTHDAY? I HAVE A BIRTHDAY, WE ALSO HAVE TO CELEBRATE MINE!” , While everyone is singing Happy Birthday. We all have birthdays, nobody is denying that for an instant, it is so obvious it doesn’t even bear saying. But taking a day to celebrate that person is in no way taking away from another person’s celebration. This is the case for International Women’s Day, and detracts from nobody.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

JFC

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

This is an example of “what-about…” ism at its finest. See also – “Black Lives Matter” vs “All Lives Matter”. The point is to raise awareness about existing biases, inequalities, and problems, not to ignore them or feel excluded because you aren’t part of the group being mentioned.

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