Malene Raith – Denmark
Malene Raith first began writing in 2004 ‘by coincidence’ she says. She had worked as a journalist since 1998 and cars came with that territory and by 2004 she wanted to try something different.“My editor suggested interviewing people about their cars and during this work I suddenly realized that I had a great interest in cars, which I’ve probably always had.”
In 2013 she started her own car website and in 2016 introduced the on-line car magazine, Prêt-à-partir Magazin, designed for both men and women and where subscription is free.
Reaction to her being a woman motoring journalist comes as a surprise to both men and women that a woman can know a lot about cars. “Men are often very interested in hearing more whereas women mostly start talking about something else!”
She is asked for car advice from both men and women, she listens to their personal demands and makes suggestions. And as most motoring journalist have found, sometimes that advice is taken on board and sometimes it is not.
After writing about cars for so long she has witnessed some changes. “Cars and motorsport have changed a lot. From roaring race cars to quiet hybrids at Le Mans which is my favourite sportscar event. “Safety is getting better and better in all new cars, and the big talk about autonomous driving from two years ago has now been replaced with electrified cars which is a hot issue at least in Denmark and Europe. “I drove twice as many new electrified cars in 2019 than I’d driven all the previous years combined. But it’s not just the powertrains that are changing, the whole mentality about personal transport, at least in the cities, has changed too.”
She loves new technology, whether its autonomous driving or fine-tuned drivability and believes design is a very important feature to a car’s philosophy. Malene Raith acknowledges that the car industry in Denmark is still very much male-dominated (between 80-90 percent) but believes it’s not so much because women are being left out in her country but, rather, women don’t seem to be as interested in the industry as men.
“Men and women have a different take on cars and the woman’s needs are often overlooked or, in the worst case, not taken seriously at all. That said, I have noticed things are getting better, at least from my journalist point of view, and I’m seeing more and more female European colleagues in the business which is a good sign.”
As for being the only Danish journalist on the jury of Women’s World Car of the Year, she says it will mean a great deal because half the drivers in Denmark are female and because women drivers, women customers, need that guidance.