Logistics is about the journey, and every journey needs a navigator. Women are the navigators who bring empathy, tenacity, and resilience to every aspect of logistics, making it an industry that is built on inclusivity and diversity. For our Women’s Day Series, we have insights from Sharmila Amin, Managing Director, Bertling Logistics India Pvt Ltd, who believes that all industry partners should start the day with a resolve to ensure that all the women co-workers are felicitated and encouraged to reach new heights. Here are the excerpts-
1.How do you think we can celebrate and honour the achievements of women in the cargo and logistics industry on International Women’s Day, and throughout the year?
Being women in a male-dominated industry makes us proud to be standing out amongst our peers. We have been trailblazers in many ways and pay our respects to the many women who first broke down barriers for us to enter and reach new heights. It is time we celebrate and honour our achievements in an appropriate manner on International Women’s Day and throughout the year. On the day itself, all industry partners should start the day with a resolve to ensure that all our women co-workers are felicitated and encouraged to reach new heights. I also suggest a woman employee of the month award for the rest of the year, culminating in a woman employee of the year for next year’s International Women’s Day.
2. Can you share any challenges you’ve faced as a woman working in the cargo and logistics industry, and also, how did you overcome them?
The number of women in the logistics business is really very low. However, the problem is not really about numbers but about understanding the value — value for shareholders, customers, and society that could be created with greater gender balance in the increasingly critical supply chain function across industries. I continue to challenge the status quo and face unique challenges in convincing industry peers in giving more women a chance to prove themselves. I have learned to overcome many of the challenges faced by tackling them head-on and not accepting defeat, I must recognize the role of many of my male peers in helping me face them. Earning their respect and admiration is the best way to overcome most of the hurdles we face. The industry continues to be male-dominated and the change that you mention is painstakingly slow, we all persevere for a better tomorrow. I would like to invite more young women to this industry to challenge themselves to change this industry.
3. How can women in the cargo and logistics industry take advantage of the opportunities created by digitization to advance their careers and make a meaningful impact in the industry?
Women have made very rapid strides in the IT and ITES business, due to their overwhelming presence in engineering colleges across the country. This advantage can be translated to help in the rapidly changing and increasingly digitized cargo and logistics industry. We as industry veterans should be going to engineering colleges for their placement events and recruit some of the best and brightest women available for the job. Women already in the industry can take some additional training in technology to upgrade their skills and find new roles and challenges within the industry.
4. What advice would you give to young women who are interested in pursuing a career in the cargo and logistics industry?
Having opened the doors of opportunity for women in this field, I wholeheartedly encourage them to take up careers in this industry.We women bring unique skills to the industry and must maximize our potential by taking on bigger challenges. The work is hard but fruitful and rewarding. Being your own boss comes with responsibilities and the ability to take chances, but the satisfaction is greater at the end of the day.
5. Please share an excerpt from your journey or any of your experiences working as a woman in the cargo/logistics industry.
Executing the most difficult jobs provides me with the most drive and excitement. Being one of the first women in the rough and tough oil and gas sector was one of the most challenging professional career moves for me. The Hazira, Bijapur, Jagdishpur (HBJ) oil pipeline project was an opportunity I could not have missed, even the most industry-hardened professionals were hesitant to work on it. I took on the challenge and excelled due to my perseverance and never say die attitude.Getting to handle those jobs in the male-dominated oil and gas sector was a difficult professional move but I was able to gather the courage to take them on and succeed.