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SERE celebrates International Women's Day 2021

Today is International Women’s Day. We want to celebrate all of the women that work at SERE with a few stories about inspirational, leading ladies who transformed the motor world in its early years.

Did you know?


In 1888, Bertha Benz took the world’s first automobile on a long-distance road trip to prove to her inventor husband Carl Benz that his car invention had a big future ahead. Bertha took the car without her husband’s knowledge and drove it on a 180km road trip. Her mission was to reassure her husband, and any sceptics, that the motor car was not only practical and reliable, but also could drive long distances. The era of the modern motor car was born. Her endeavour brought widespread acclaim to the Benz name, and went a long way to promoting the sale of the very first Mercedes Benz cars.


In the early 1900’s, Mary Anderson invented the windshield wiper to improve driver visibility in the event of rain or snow. To this day still, this simple innovation has enhanced driver and passenger safety.

In the early years of cars being on the road, Mary noticed drivers inconveniently having to stop and clear their car windows during bad weather. Mary knew there had to be a solution to make this easier for drivers. She designed a set of wiper arms made from wood and rubber which could be operated through the use of a lever installed close to the steering wheel. Pulling on the lever would initiate a spring mechanism that dragged the wiper arm across the windshield, clearing away snow, rain and debris. By 1916, windscreen wipers were fitted as standard on most cars, vans, and trucks.


Florence Lawrence was a woman of many talents. Praised as the ‘world’s first movie star’ and acting in nearly 300 films, she then went on to show a love for the automobile industry. In 1914, after years of learning about cars and tinkering with automobiles, she invented the first car turn signal, or “auto-signalling arm,” and mechanical brake signal for cars. Through the simple push of a button, her simple invention raised and lowered a flag on the rear bumper of the automobile to inform other drivers where the car was headed next.

There are so many fascinating tales about influential women driving through history. Fast forward a century and we can see the positive influence women continue to have. Female CEOs, race car drivers, lead supercar designers and engineers prove there is no holding back when it comes to putting women firmly in the driver seat.

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