Over the past 10 years, there's been a huge increase in the number of women in supply chain and logistics, says Victoria Ma, head of digital innovation at Miebach Consulting. But women need to be further empowered if they are to continue their climb to senior management positions in these fields.
Ma’s own work history shows the advances women have made in the industry. In the beginning, she was often the only woman in a meeting, either internally in her company or with a client. Now, she says, the ratio is often 50-50.
At trade shows and in client meetings, she interacts with more and more women. “So I think there have been changes in the past 10 years, but there are still challenges and hurdles for women to progress in this field in supply chain and logistics,” she says.
Stereotypes continue in some areas, Ma says. She notes that a female colleague, trained as an industrial engineer, encountered an obtuse individual who began speaking about a racking design, then said to the woman, “Oh, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about.”
Ma says she has seen more women assuming senior leadership roles in supply chain design and planning and in overall distribution responsibilities. “But if we're talking about senior positions in engineering operations, I think the ratio is still different. We have more women in the strategic positions and fewer women in the engineering positions in the supply chain.”
How can the industry empower women? There already are any number of seminars and organizations designed to help and promote women, Ma says, and they should continue. But women need to “voice up” and more strongly make their positions and demands heard. That isn’t always a comfortable role, but women must step up and gain the credibility that speaking out brings.
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