Britcar UK is likely to have become the first Land Rover parts specialist in the UK to be run primarily by women, after Scarlett Mansfield recently took over the role of CEO from her father Duncan. With the help of her sister Vikki (Shipping Manager), who has been with the Ipswich-based business since its inception, Scarlett leads an all-female, five-person management team, and 15 staff altogether.
‘There wasn’t an active strategy to recruit more women,’ Scarlett told LRO, ‘but women over the years have tended to stay with the business longer, and be good at what they do. Di Simpson for example, our Office Manager, started working here in the mid-90s.’
Scarlett, who earned her Master’s degree in History from Oxford in 2017 and has since travelled the world driving Land Rovers (regular readers will remember her feature from California in our August 2019 issue) is now set on ensuring the Land Rover community – from off-roading to restoration and everywhere in between – is more welcoming to women.
Key to that mission is creating online resources for newcomers, and a new Facebook group, ‘No Such Thing As A Silly Land Rover Question’, where beginners can pose simple questions without fear of criticism.
‘Everybody’s got to start somewhere, but sometimes when you ask basic questions online, people aren’t always polite – it’s quite disheartening. When I was driving my Freelander across Mongolia, one of our wipers broke and we were stranded for three hours until someone came along and fixed it for us in seconds. If we’d had better access to that kind of basic information, we wouldn’t have been stuck there.’
Also lacking online, Scarlett says, are resources that explain how to tell the difference between Land Rover models – useful knowledge for beginners. She intends to address the shortage by publishing a guide on the Britcar UK website.
Scarlett also points to the under-representation of women at the top of Jaguar Land Rover, whose leadership team of 19 people includes only one woman. ‘Some may argue that’s because women aren’t interested in cars, but you just have to see the support for groups like Land Rover Ladies to see that’s not true,’ she says.