everywoman in Transport & Logistics: male winner?

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The FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards, established 11 years ago, recently named its 2018 winners with the addition of a new Male Agent of Change Award and as 11 women and one man took the stage to collect their well-deserved awards, some questions couldn’t help but arise.

The main question being: why is a man being awarded for his “active commitment to advancing the progress of women working in transport and logistics,” when this should be a given for all men in the industry? Is 2018 not the year of equality?

The situation could be spun on its side to say yes, equality means that women need to be able to run alongside men. Taking that approach, such awards should not exist for women in the first place and they should just be considered for mainstream logistics and supply chain awards. This may be true, but until businesses are no longer male dominated, chances for women remain slim.

Maria Highland, reporter.

everywoman proudly features ambassadors who elevate female profiles of its members as role models and ambassadors for women in business. And everywoman advocates work to develop female talent at all levels in all sectors and shine a spotlight female role models to inspire others. These roles are taken on by both men and women.

Male support is more than appreciated, that goes without saying, and men should not be overlooked for their efforts and support – but receiving an award for supporting gender equality does raise some eyebrows.

Introducing a male-specific award for the advancement of female progress implies that women need sponsors to succeed. And yet, the principle of promoting and supporting women in logistics is to push them into spotlight and highlight their achievement, serving as inspiration to other women climbing the ranks within transport and logistics.

Not only are these award winners and candidates “making their own contributions to the industry, but they are mentoring others to do the same. As everywoman ambassadors, they will go on to inspire the next generation,” said Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman. In fact, every woman was founded on the basis that landscape for women in business needed to change. So, why is a man in the spotlight?

As long as gender discrimination persists, women should receive recognition for their efforts. Transport and logistics is a male dominated industry and these women are striving for recognition. “Some traditionally male sectors such as construction and transport, have remained highly resistant to change in their gender balance, with women still only accounting for 22 per cent of workers in transport,” wrote Tessa Wright in her book Gender and Sexuality in Male-Dominated Occupations.

The Women in Logistics (WiL) forum, incorporated within the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT UK), outlines its vision as looking to “Improve the lives of women in logistics in the UK and address gender imbalance, enabling the logistics industry to benefit from female talent.” Would there be a need for a society advocating the role of women in logistics if that role was secure?

Until the profession is an optimal place for women to grow and transform their careers perhaps awarding men for doing what thousands of women in transport and logistics strive to do on a daily basis should be reconsidered.

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