Jennie Gow: "There’s probably two key females max in each team"
“If somebody doesn’t like motorsport, that’s our job to tell the story and paint the picture and to make them enjoy the personalities behind the cars,” says Broadcaster and Journalist Jennie Gow.
Jennie is one of the most established motorsport media professionals, working for the likes of ESPN, Sky and the BBC to cover championships including Formula 1. She can often be found interviewing Lewis Hamilton or grilling Sebastian Vettel and always does it with a smile.
“I’m very aware that many people will never get to go into a paddock,” she says. “But I get to go into that paddock and I want to share it with everybody because it’s so cool whether it’s touring cars, local club racing or Le Mans. Whatever it may be, every person who steps into a paddock has a story. I just love sharing those stories with people.”
After weeks of unpaid work, Jennie got a job at the BBC which was testament to her hard work. Now, the roles have reversed and she finds herself helping young people who are wanting to forge a career in motorsport.
“Never take no for an answer - there’s not many people in the industry whose careers advisor would have sat down and said that’s definitely the job for you,” she says. “If you want to be a broadcaster, a journalist or want to work in motorsport in any form, then go for it. Don’t let anyone say that’s not for you or that you don’t seem to be from the right background or the right gender.”
Jennie has now been working in the sport for over a decade and in that time she has covered an array of championships including endurance racing, Formula E and, of course, Formula 1.
“I’ve been working in motorsport for a very long time because I’m old now!” she says. “I’m not rich. I’m not famous. I’m still trying to come up with ideas to innovate and to tell a story. I didn’t get into this because I wanted to be famous or rich - I wanted to make people smile. That was my genuine hope to enlighten people.”
Jennie is currently on the BBC’s line-up for their radio coverage they produce. Along with Jack Nicholls and Jolyon Palmer, she broadcasts live and gives insight to what’s happening over the course of a Formula 1 session.
However, when all on-track motorsport activity was postponed earlier this year, Jennie took to Instagram to get people talking about sports once again. This was when she coined Fast Talkers, a YouTube series that features both emerging and established talent.
“I’ve always wanted to do a journalist’s show because there’s so much talent that covers motorsport,” she says. “There are a lot of people in the paddock that will talk at you and, because they don’t listen to anyone else, sometimes they know less than everybody else. You can always learn no matter what your age, who you are or your background.”
Fantastic initiatives such as FIA Girls on Track and the Women in Motorsport Commission have inspired young women to get involved in motorsport. However, Jennie would like to see the likes of Formula 1 do more to ensure that its workforce is more diverse in the coming years.
“You can never click your fingers overnight and see it change but all I can hope is that in 10/15 years, we’ll see a real change,” she says. “There’s probably two key females max in each team when it comes to engineering and mechanical - we just need more. There are still some teams which are lagging behind with any sort of inclusion programme. F1 needs to make sure they’re championing inclusion and they're on top of the teams to make sure it happens.”
Jennie herself has been an ambassador for Dare To Be Different and is a real model for people wanting to become involved in motorsport or any male-dominated environment. Despite gender equality being a problem, Jennie is aware that this isn’t the only issue facing our sport.
“We’re very lucky to have somebody like Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1,” she says. “Not every championship has that diverse person who’s shouting from the rooftops. I can’t think of any series I’ve worked in where someone was black - maybe a few people from an Asian background every now and then, but it’s really unusual.”
Jennie is championing equality with her diverse range of guests on Fast Talkers and is not afraid to topic more taboo topics head on.
“We have to call out people who aren’t representing the sport well and make sure that this is a safe place for everyone to come into,” she says. “If you can solve the problem that we have with numbers in karting and bring the cost down to get more women and more people from diverse backgrounds, all sorts of people that represent the world, we’ll be in a better situation.”