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  • Writer's pictureTeam CargoTalk

Trailblazing women redefining the logistics landscape

The aviation and logistics industry and IATA have a goal of improving female representation in the air cargo industry by 25% by 2025. Closer home, women in logistics are working behind the scenes to improve the dynamic.

- Abigail Mathias

The aviation industry in the UAE, one that has historically been a pillar of growth for countries in the region, has not only developed into a core contributor to their economy in terms of employment, but has also helped draw tourists and business to the region.

Diversity and inclusiveness are fast becoming the focus for workforces around the world, but one of the major industries lacking in this area is aviation. Since there is a real need for innovation and meeting the needs of one of the widest consumer bases globally, it can be imperative for the airlines to take some significant action.

With this in mind, we are going to take an in-depth look at women in the aviation industry and how things are shaping up for the future.

Women in logistics and aviation hold power of transformation. By embracing leadership roles and foster mentorships, we rewrite industry narratives thanks to platforms such as Women in Aviation and Logistics along with media outlets such as playing a crucial role in championing female industry leaders.

As Co-founder and CEO of WIN Sustainably, I have seen firsthand how gender diversity in technology-based solutions such as our food apps can drive change. A balanced logistics sector benefits from varied perspectives, leading to innovative B2B and B2C solutions. Empowering one woman creates a domino effect, encouraging others to break barriers and redefine norms. It starts with us and choosing to partner with female logistic solutions such as Chilled Rides and Goods2load.

In the logistics, supply chain, and cargo management sector, women play a pivotal role in fostering gender neutrality. They serve as beacons of inspiration, leading by example. those eager to follow in their footsteps. Through unwavering advocacy, they champion inclusivity, heralding a future where opportunities know no gender boundaries.

Tailored educational programmes and onsite work experiences equip women with the knowledge needed and concrete skills to thrive in this domain. In networks of empowerment, they forge a collective of unwavering strength, where tales of triumph serve as a powerful source of motivation. Celebrating the successes of women in logistics becomes a symphony of inspiration. Collaborative partnerships amplify their voices, reshaping the industry. With courage, compassion, and resolute commitment, these women inspire and lead, sculpting a logistics landscape that is both gender-neutral and inclusive.

Women should participate in procurement and logistics for several reasons. These industries though male dominated, the inclusion of women can bring about positive changes and empowerment in a variety of ways.

Women in procurement and logistics contribute to enhanced decision-making, cost savings, risk management, and innovation. Their presence empowers women to pursue and succeed in these sectors,

fostering gender equality and diversity. Embracing diversity and gender balance in these industries can lead to stronger, more sustainable businesses and a more inclusive and equitable society.

Diverse perspectives: Women bring unique perspectives to the table, leading to a holistic decision-making. In procurement, this can mean a focus on sustainability, ethical sourcing, and diversity in suppliers, promoting responsible, and inclusive business practices.

Improved supplier relationships: Women excel in interpersonal skills, which can be invaluable in establishing and maintaining ties with suppliers. Strong relationships can lead to better deals and smoother procurement processes.

Cost reduction: Research and development has shown that those companies with diverse procurement teams often achieve cost savings and higher profitability.

Women can contribute to innovative cost-reduction strategies and efficient supply chain management.

Risk management: Procurement and logistics involve dealing with risks and uncertainties. Many women tend to be meticulous and detail-oriented, helping organizations manage risks effectively. This can be crucial during times of crisis or disruption.

Empowerment: As women enter these fields, they serve as role models for future generations. Seeing women succeed in procurement and logistics empowers young women to pursue careers in these industries.

Leadership opportunities: Encouraging women to participate in procurement and logistics provides them with a path to leadership roles. It promotes gender equity and ensures that women have a seat at the decision-making table.

Innovation: Diverse teams are frequently more innovative. In procurement and logistics field, this can lead to the development of newer strategies, technologies, and practices and the like that drive efficiency and competitiveness.

The Middle East has become a pivotal player in global aviation. This development is fuelled by accelerated growth in the region’s civil aviation. The Middle East has steadily evolved into a center of regional cooperation and one that allows conducive business growth. The aviation industry in the region, one that has historically been a pillar of growth for several countries, has not only developed into a core contributor to the region’s economy in terms of employment, but has also helped attract tourists and business.

How Women fare in aviation

Since there is a need for innovation and meeting the needs of one of the widest consumer bases globally, it can be imperative for the airlines to take some action. Keeping this in mind, we are going to take an in-depth look at women in aviation and how things are shaping up for the future. The Women in Aviation (WIA) General Assembly regularly meets its members to discuss aspects of the group. The group met on 19 May 2022 at Dubai World Trade Centre. Attendees from various sectors such as engineers, aviators, managers, faculty members and CEOs were present to offer their support.

It is estimated that women make up 20 per cent of the aviation sector and 12 per cent of them are educating themselves and will shortly join the workforce. Dr Shamsi is a personality in the GCC countries who is making rapid strides in the aviation sector.

“As one of the founding members of WAI in Middle East, my strategy is to make sure that we plan successful summits, which can support women and create a positive outcome that can help the industry as well,” she said.

Discussing the diverse roles of women in aviation, Dr. Shamsi added, “There are many uncommon roles for women in the aviation industry. My role, for example, keeps changing from a consultant and advisor. I was earlier an aircraft engineer. There are a lot of women in leading roles who are decision makers. Few people think a woman is not suitable for the aviation industry, but as I said in my address, if a woman can run a house, she can run a department and a company in any industry as well.”

Diversity, culture, equity, and inclusion are gaining importance at the workplace, especially in logistics. While progress has been made, the gender gap still exists. Empowering women in logistics is gaining momentum and for good reason.

A diverse workforce brings new perspectives and experiences, leading to innovative problem-solving. Women possess many valuable qualities, including multitasking, organization, and resilience, making them a valuable addition to the logistics sector.

To encourage women to succeed in logistics, female leaders must lead by example and extend their mission to empower women. Providing equal learning and job opportunities can help females explore their skills and strengths.

Empowering women in logistics has far-reaching benefits. It not only enhances a company’s reputation and reduces turnover but also contributes to stable, better-educated societies. Women influence 80 per cent of all purchasing decisions worldwide, making products and services more attractive and relevant for them.

Let us work together to close the gender gap and create a diverse and inclusive logistics industry. Businesses that empower female workers, managers, and owners in their supply chains can keep up with increasing international political and legal requirements, while increasing efficiency, productivity, and supply security.

Empowering more women in each sector of business is essential. Since the cargo industry, particularly in the Middle East is male-dominated, only a small percentage of women are employed in logistics sector.

In China, for example, I have interacted with a lot of women in the logistics sector. I hope we can replicate the same here. We have launched a beautiful initiative—Women in Logistics and Cargo—in our Women’s Business Circle in the UAE’s capital.

Women can take up various managerial roles. As women are getting employed as pilots, freight operators and jobs in ground handling need to increase for them.

Nadia Abdul Aziz is not just the President of the NAFL, she has also been an active voice for Women in Logistics & Transport and heads the WILAT NGO for the `Middle East and is the Global Vice Chair for omen in logistics and transport for over three years. Women sjhould be empowered in the supply chain logistics industry through capacity building, certified trainings, networking events, mentoring, and coaching.

She assisted in hosting CILT event in 2015 in Dubai-UAE and sponsored the ‘Inspiring Women’s Award at Burj Al Arab in 2015’.

The NAFL was the Arabian Gulf’s first national freight forwarders association. NAFL is a member of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations, based in Zurich. The National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL) was founded in Dubai and remains to this day a pillar of support for SMEs.

Having been in the logistics industry for over 20 years, it is remarkable to see the roles that women have taken in this field. “I take part in Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CLIT), which focuses on women in logistics and transport, “ she said.

Logistics sector contributes 14 per cent of its GDP and if we include all service providers and modes of transport, it is an industry with the largest human capital. The past half-century has seen a global increase in the level of female participation in the workforce, with developing countries seeing more than half of women of working age employed.

The increase is evident in the industry, which has posted growth in the past 20 years. The industry needs women in leadership positions where they can be role models and inspire the next generation to follow in their footsteps.

Although the logistics industry is a growing one and has opportunities for advancement, there are not many women who join it. While the demand for qualified personnel exceeds the supply in the logistics and supply chain sector, it has become imperative to attract and include women as they are good at multitasking, an ability that enables them to handle myriad of tasks.

These include planning, implementing, and controlling the flow and storage of goods in the supply chain. “My advice to women is to work hard and be consistent when you are committed to your career. Employers always look for qualified trainees,” she added.


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