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

Cargo Talk - - Front Page -

Su­nila Yadav

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.

Divya Jain

CEO, Safe­d­u­cate

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.

Puja Nanda

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.

Ra­jni Bhaskaran

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.

Kruti Joban­pu­tra

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.

Poroma Rebello

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.

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