Women in logistics: Opportunities galore
Gone are the days when the logistics sector was perceived to be male-dominated. There has been a rise in the number of women in this sector, and that day may not be too far when women will have equal participation in the sector. For instance, online furni
Managing Director, Anil Mantra Logistix
I really don’t think that it’s difficult for a woman to stand and shine in this industry. If we have to give a gender to our industry then it would surely be a ‘male’ gender as the field of logistics or supply chain management has consistently been a male dominated area of expertise. Women have been underrepresented in the sector due to various reasons – be it working hours, physical hardships or social barriers. However, the situation is changing. Today, we see women as leaders and not handling the orthodox/supporting profile of HR or GM-Finance, but on seats like VP - Distribution, GM – Sales & Marketing or Head – Transportation & Movement. I do agree that there are many factors which don’t allow women to fit in this industry, but it’s high time to change our mindset. Logistics is not limited to just the physical aspect of transport, it has many other facets to it.
India has come far in accepting women professionals in logistics, but there is still a long way to go. Logistics offers all kinds of roles in sales, marketing, operations, customer service and support functions like finance, HR and IT. The key competencies required are not very different from other sectors. Women should focus on being a long term player in the field of logistics. That said, this sector will lead to faster career growth and higher rewards than most others. Today around 30 per cent of the total workforce in supply chain and logistics comprise women. However, only 10 per cent of them are seen at the management level. Myths about the industry being male-dominated and a taboo for working women need to be broken. It is on all of us as partners in logistics to make sure that that women entrepreneurship gets reiterated. Being a physical labour oriented industry, the taboo of women working in this field comes undisclosed. The mindset of the new era as well as working professionals across domains is witnessing a paradigm shift.
Director, Mercurio Pallia Logistics
Women have been under-represented in this sector due to various reasons – be it woman showing a lack of interest or biological barriers that limit their access to men-dominated working environment. Working hours and dealing with drivers, makes this field more complex to work when compared to other sectors. It is also a male ego issue, that they don’t want to work under female supervision. Career opportunities and gender equality are some factors that would help make this industry more attractive to women.
Manager – Administration (India), UTI Worldwide
Logistics, transportation and SCM has for long been perceived as an ‘all-male club’. However, the situation is changing. No longer is the industry looking for a specific gender. If you are good in geography and numbers, a job in the logistics industry is tailormade for you. Even the freight forwarding industry makes for a good career, it involves more than just ‘moving boxes’ and goods. This job gives you a chance to move a ton of cargo with a simple click of button, plan shipment, developing an equitable price plan, to name a few. It has become more receptive to women than it ever was and believes that women can equally contribute to organisational growth. Women bring a cultural change, value and different atmosphere to the industry. Plus, we are extremely astute at analysis, route optimisation/strategy management and research.
Director, JWC Logistics Park
The logistics industry has always been known as a maledominated industry; this is one industry where over 70 per cent staffing has been dominated by men. As a woman who has been in logistics for six years now, I have seen a huge change in the acceptance of women. Also, there are many women leaders in this the industry, and this is an encouraging sign. The women in this industry today are at powerful positions and are at par with men. I am very confident that in times to come this percentage will only increase. With the country looking at the Modi government to revive double-digit growth, it is essentially the supply chain and logistics industry be the backbone to this development trajectory. Being a part of this sector at this point is exhilarating and being one of the few women makes it even more so.
Head Commercial, North Central Region, APL India
There are very few senior women in the rough and tumble of commercial and operations field roles in the shipping and logistics industry. But primarily, the reason is the female mindset which is trapped by a million boundaries of what is considered an ‘appropriate’ profession for women. Unfortunately, girls are encouraged to believe that maintaining the parameters of feminity is more important than going about and doing what you want to the best of your skills and ability. My upbringing and thinking has always rejected this kind of belief. Therefore, I say that this industry certainly is for women, provided they want to be in it. Dealing with male ego is one of the factors which make it difficult for women to enter in this men-dominated sector. Most men are not comfortable dealing with women at similar or senior levels, the disadvantage lies therein. As long as men will continue to feel uncomfortable around women in the workplace, the disadvantage will stay both in logistics and elsewhere.
Poonam Grover, Cargo Manager – India, Northern Airlines
There is still a perception that logistics sector is not meant for women due to long working hours, working environment and the day to day challenges. Visit any logistics company; you will soon discover that women participation is miniscule. This is one of the reasons that there are very few women leaders at the top positions. However, women are good at planning, can multitask under pressure, if given a chance. Companies need to be sensitised towards the growing role of women in their organisations.