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Celebrating women automobile designers this International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

Many women have made outstanding contributions to the automotive industry since time immemorial. From pioneering automobiles as a viable form of transport in its early years, to developing parts and components that have become essential to today’s vehicles, to speeding their way to history around race tracks, and helming or holding key positions in global companies in the field, women have proven that it is not just a man’s world.

Another area where women have made their mark (marque?) is in automotive design. Previously, we had looked at the work of Juliane Blasi and Nadya Arnaout, the wunder women behind the BMW Z4. Today, we celebrate three other women designers who added their inimitable touch to many cars and pushed the design standards in the industry to new levels.

Dorothee Pullinger and the Galloway car
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Dorothée Pullinger

Dorothée Pullinger (1894-1986) was a pioneering female engineer and businesswoman. At a time when most women couldn’t even vote, she made a name for herself in the male-dominated automotive industry.

Born in France before moving to Scotland with her family, Pullinger worked in a munitions factory and gained valuable knowledge in engineering and manufacturing during the First World War. She then worked for a few automobile manufacturers before founding Galloway Motors in 1923 (when she was aged 29), a company staffed primarily by women.

Pullinger designed and produced the first car with women in mind. Simply called The Galloway, some models of the car featured raised seats, a lowered dashboard, a smaller steering and a rearview mirror. The Galloway Lady’s Coupe was a small car with a lower centre of gravity, which also made it easier for women to drive. Other models came with a removable baby seat, so that mothers would find it easier to drive around with their children.

Dorothee Pullinger designed the Galloway car
A Galloway car designed by Dorothée Pullinger (Image source)

It was not just women who love the Galloway car, marketed as “built by ladies, for those of their own sex.” As the car was small and light but economical and reliable, it became very popular with a wider group of customers.

Pullinger was accepted as the first female member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers in 1923. Through her legacy, she had helped to open the door for other women to enter the automotive field and to pursue careers in engineering and manufacturing.

NEXT: Mimi Vandermolen, a different Ford model


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