Time for our Industry to Wake up to Gender Inequality


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Time for our Industry to Wake up to Gender Inequality

01 October 2020

Adrian Byrne, B Bus, CMILT
General Manager
ATC Computer Transport & Logistics
To conclude my studies in TU Dublin’s programme for MSc. in Supply Chain
Management, I recently completed a thesis that asked the question, why does gender inequality exist at leadership levels within our industry in the face of pending leadership shortages? While stumbling in the dark looking for a topic worthy of academic research, I came across an article in the Seattle Times written by Kimberly Perkins, a Seattle based female airline captain entitled “I am among 5% of all pilots in America – a women”. After reading this power piece depicting the gross gender imbalance within US airlines at captain level I was hooked. As I dived into research within supply chain and logistics it quickly
became apparent that gender inequality is flourishing, and for the most part flying under the radar. I knew then I had my research topic, questioning what drives gender inequality within our industry today.
Disparity of gender balance grows the higher up the seniority level you go within our industry. Reports and studies showing males making up 92% of Director and C-Suite level management within supply chain and logistics organizations are well documented.
Source 2020: modified from Women in Supply Chains, Gartner Report
(Stiffler, et al., 2020)
When you consider the starting base moving towards gender parity at entry level roles, It questions what is happening to make the numbers of women drop off or why are a disproportionate number of males making it to the top? For this reason I decided to confined my research to leadership levels. I conducted in-depth interviews with, female leaders over a cross-section of supply chain and logistics sectors. 43% of these women are C-Suite level, 36% at senior management level and 21% at middle management level.
I found the findings of this research alarming, so much so, that at one time I
found myself reaching out to a friend who works in HR consultancy just for a sanity check on the findings. As an operations and logistics manager with over 34 years experience this was a wake up call. Allow me to share some examples of insights and conclusions with you.
Organisations are being predominantly lead by male leaders. Hence the lack of female perspectives at decision-making levels is resulting in the industry’s lack of process when recognising and addressing issues of gender inequality.
Continued disparity in pay, should not be underestimated as it sets an unjustified status quo which allows further acts of bias and gender discrimination to flourish among organisations in the supply chain and logistics sector.
Of all the female leaders who participated in the interview process of this
research, none of them, up to the point of their interview, had been afforded the opportunity nor been requested to freely express their opinions and experiences on gender bias within their organisation. Hence the research concludes this failure to gain insight should be regarded as a wake-up call to both organisations and the industry as a whole. This is compounded when considering the number of years of service female leaders who contributed to this research have amassed to date (two hundred and sixty-four years). All of which must be regarded as current untapped potential knowledge.
How long will the neglect of internal issues such as gender inequality remain sustainable? The report concludes that the clock is ticking, and has been for some time now. Hence the time for action via greater engagement is way past overdue. The time for recognition and meaningful implementation to tackle gender inequality is now if organisations are to recover from lagging impacts and secure future leadership resource requirements.
While it may be considered reasonable to suggest that the onus to tackle gender inequality issues lay at the feet of individual organisations operating within the supply chain and logistics sector, the industry as a whole is likely to suffer if collective ownership and responsibility is not adopted.
The research recommends that organisations proactively seek assistance from industry bodies such as CILT (The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport) and actively encourage and welcome engagement with programmes of empowerment such as WiLAT (Women In Logistics & Transport) to develop female middle managers to the benefit of all within their organisations.
Also recommended is for organisations engage consultancy services to establish and develop internal educational and training programmes with a view of modernising internal cultures and eliminating potential risks associated with preconceived traditional notions derived from male-dominated decision-makers at the top.
I’ve spent my whole career in the supply chain and logistics industry and it was 32 years before I had to report into a women. Now I’m awake to gender
inequality I’m not surprised. I’ll be forever indebted to the women who shared their insights with me as part of my research.

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The post Time for our Industry to Wake up to Gender Inequality appeared first on Linkline Journal - Ireland.


«October 2020»

UK Reveals Plans for up to 10 Inland Border Sites to Cope with Brexit Chaos

Sites being acquired as part of efforts to avoid long lorry queues at ports such as Dover

The government has announced plans for up to 10 inland sites to cope with Brexit congestion and border checks including in Birmingham, Warrington and at a former airfield near Epping Forest in Essex.

The inland border sites are being acquired to relieve ports including at Dover and Liverpool and could be in place for up to two years, according to one of the councils where the planning process for infrastructure has already begun.

Among the proposed sites is a second facility for Ashford in Kent, adjacent to the recently acquired “Mojo” lorry park that will enable “about 2,000 HGVs” to queue on the coast-bound carriageway while other traffic continues to flow in both directions.

The details were disclosed in a long-awaited update on the government’s border operating model and are part of the plan to avert congestion and queues of up to 7,000 trucks in Kent.

On Wednesday Michael Gove, in charge of implementing Brexit, said of the potential for chaos in Kent: “If things do go wrong, then to paraphrase Rag’n’Bone Man – put the blame on me.”

The document sets out new rules for border controls for travelling with EU member state national ID cards, no longer acceptable from 2021 when passports will be mandatory for entry to the UK.

It also confirms that hauliers will need a “Kent access permit” to get into the county if they are heading for a ferry in Dover or a Eurotunnel train in Folkestone as part of congestion management.

The government says it will be putting new infrastructure in place at Ebbsfleet international station in Kent, North Weald airfield in Essex and Warrington in the north-west.

Along with the second Ashford site – which would be used for processes around transit including “passport for goods” checks – two further sites are being considered primarily for the same processes in Thames Gateway and Birmingham. Additional potential sites could be put in place by July next year in Holyhead, Fishguard/Pembroke and Dover.

Industry leaders including the Road Haulage Association, which Gove has accused of not being “constructive”, welcomed the report.

The government had identified 29 areas last month for potential use for border infrastructure but has already stood some of these boroughs down. Medway council in Kent said it had been notified by the government that land in its area would not be needed.

Anglesey council has already rejected an approach

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