General Motors CEO Mary Barra will sit out an award ceremony held by the National Women’s History Museum in Washington, D.C. Monday following protests from a group of family and friends of individuals killed in recalled GM vehicles, Automotive News reports.
Barra was among four honorees to attend the gala, where she would also be receiving an award named after former Washington Post President Katharine Graham. A letter sent and signed by friends and family members of victims of crashes in defective GM cars urged co-chairs of the committee to not give Barra the award.
“While we recognize that Mrs. Barra is the first woman to be named CEO of an American auto company, her first year in this position is only credited with one record so far — a record number of vehicle safety recalls connected to nearly 32 deaths and thousands of injuries,” the letter read.
The Women’s History Museum said it’s honoring Barra because “GM is driving to become the global industry leader in automotive design and technology, product quality and safety, customer care and business results.” Despite the outcry, they will bestow the award on Barra anyway.
“As the first female CEO of a leading automaker, Mary Barra has shattered the notion that the highest ranks of a traditionally male-dominated industry are reserved for men,” the museum said in a statement.
The letter, which accuses Barra of having a “lack of transparaency and accountability,” was signed by Laura Christian, the mother of a crash victim and one of the leading critics against GM’s handling of its ignition switch recall.