If you are a woman in the field of logistics, take a look around your office space and try to count the number of men and women around you. Is the number equal? If it is, then consider yourself lucky to be in that space of equality. Though such cases may be many, the general trend of the unbalanced workforce remains rooted in the field of logistics.
A simple google search will show you numerous articles that speak about the need for women in the field of logistics, usually titled ‘Logistics: A Man’s World’, or ‘ Why do we need more women in logistics’ and so on. The discussion has no novelty, yet the problem persists.
Traditionally, logistics was a male-dominated field as workers and porters at docks and ports required physical strength to manually load vessels before cranes and lifts became central to the area. But the case was not just in ports and warehouses but also in offices. Considering the operational aspects were largely male-dominated, the sales and planning sectors' perception also became such. A significant problem of the issue was perceptional, due to which women were unable to harness interest in this field.
Various research surveys conducted in the UK, the US and Germany indicate a large gap between the genders in the workforce. Specifically, in Europe, there are only 22% of women involved in the field, as recently as 2018. Unfortunately, in Asia, the statistics are not too far off. In China, 29% of the workforce in transport and logistics are women. Developed nations and the Global South reflect similar trends in the involvement of women in this field.
The motivation is not to simply highlight the problems but to see the various ways in which organisations are working towards creating a more balanced workplace.
1. Unbalanced workforce
Many larger organisations are aware that the industry is accustomed to having an unbalanced workforce. To tackle the situation, they are conditioned to take the top-down approach due to the inability to create space for women in smaller executive roles. This has allowed for a significant presence of women on the managerial board. However, as more and more technology is entering ports, terminals and warehouses, it has opened opportunities for women to perform the same tasks as done by men. Therefore, a more substantial commitment towards digitalisation offers the chance of a more balanced workforce.
2. Lack of role models
On the top of your head, how many women can you name from the field of logistics in positions of power? There is no denying that there are none, but the issue is that there is no awareness about them. More women in top posts need to be given platforms to speak, showcase their expertise and become significant voices from the industry. The more role model an industry offers, the more attractive it becomes to female talent. In our NSRN member community we are proud to see many successful women leaders, who have shared their journeys with us in our Silk Road Stories Interviews. For Februaary, stay tuned for two exclusive interviews with successful women in logistics.
3. Inclusive workspaces
First and foremost, there is an urgent need to close the pay gap between the genders. Women are still paid lesser than men for the same jobs. At the same time, workplaces need to offer more solutions to make working for women more comfortable. Societal pressure demands women to run households and take up the role of the primary care-givers, because of which many of times women lose opportunities in workspaces. Keeping this in mind, many organisations now offer flexible working time, individual part-time work, and ergonomic work environments. These benefits have shown to increase productivity in companies.
Woman in workplaces offer an empathetic environment, positive communication and a more excellent fostering of a learning environment. More balanced a workforce, more happier the workspace. With these values rooted in New Silk Road Network, we wish to celebrate individuals working towards a more equal logistics industry!