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Ford is taking a risky approach to celebrating International Women’s Day by exploring the question, “What if the Ford Explorer was only developed by men?” Without spoiling the joke, Ford is suggesting that the classic nameplate wouldn’t have made it out of the parking lot. Ford is taking this time to recognize the necessity of female engineers and designers. 

Ford Explorer Men's Edition infographic
Ford Explorer Men’s Edition | Ford

What have women contributed to the car world? 

Ford wanted to explore the idea of a Ford Explorer “made by men only.” Before you cancel Ford, there is a point here. This isn’t some goofy men’s rights activist podcast plot. Ford is showing how integral women are to the Oval’s success. 

Ford has dreamed up what the Explorer would look like if no women were involved. This means any automotive innovations, inventions, or progress led by women won’t be found in the SUV. 

Who invented windshield wipers? 

It turns out that we really need women in the car world. The Drive notes right off the top that this “Men’s only” edition Explorer doesn’t have windshield wipers. Those handy little doo-dads were developed by Alabama’s own Mary Anderson, who patented the manual windshield wiper in 1903. 

Who invented the car heater? 

The Explorer is also without one of our favorite car features ever, the heater. The car’s heater. A lifeline for any drivers north of the Mason Dixion, the heater was invented by Margret Wilcox. She worked out how to safely pull hot air from the engine bay into the car’s cabin in 1893. 

Who invented turn signals?

If you care to let anyone know which way you will go, you can forget that, too, because the “Men’s only” Explorer doesn’t have turn signals. Actor and inventor Florence Lawrence is responsible for turn signals. She invented the proto signals that would electronically raise a little arm from the rear fenders to indicate which direction the car will turn. The Drive points out that in a moment of fun irony, Larwences mother, Charlotte Bridgewood, invented the electronic windshield wiper. 

Who invented the rearview mirror? 

That’s right. The dude Explorer doesn’t have a rearview mirror in her hand to see what was going on behind her. Before long, the technique caught on with other drivers. It turns out that being able to see what’s behind you makes a lot of sense. Thanks for working that out for us, Dorthy. 

International Women’s Day shows how much we Owe Women in the automotive world

Ford’s International Women’s Day ad might be a little risky, but it is a clever way to show the real impact that women have had on the automotive industry. Ideas from women over 100 years ago are still considered the best way to do it today. 

I think we can all agree that the “Men’s only” Explorer is a far worse car than the regular shmegular Explorer that allowed women to affect its design.