The transport industry is facing major problems recruiting personnel – something that could have serious consequences for the economy. Getting more women involved in the sector could improve working conditions and ensure the industry’s future.

The role of women in the transport sector is something that needs to be addressed. Women account for only 17.5% of the workforce in urban public transport for example and hold less than 10% of technical and operational jobs. Women comprise only 15% of transport and related occupations and only 4.6% of commercial truck drivers are women.Inequality in the industry is one of the primary reasons that women rule out working in the transport profession. Industry banter is a problem. If a woman is involved in an accident, the tone tends to be ‘That’s what happens when women get on the road’, when in fact the opposite is true. 

More women on the road leads to increased traffic safety.The transport and logistics industry is typically described as a “non-traditional” employment pathway for women. This prevailing view, documented in the 2015 South Australian Freight Council (SAFC) report, is supported by a perception that because the majority of employees in this industry are men, most work in this industry is stereotypically “masculine”.

Moreover, in the transport and logistics industry, women are predominately employed in support functions and occupy managerial roles in the areas of finance, information technology, communications, human resources, business development, procurement, and quality and risk management. Men, on the other hand, are predominantly employed in the technical, operational and “physical” roles.

Encouragingly, several market developments are creating viable opportunities to include women in “non-traditional” roles in the industry. These include advances in technology such as automatic gearboxes and hydraulic lifting equipment, the retirement of existing workers, increasing levels of education and improved technical training among new entrants.

More women mean bringing more talent to transport and a broader view conducive to innovation.

The inclusion of women in the transport and logistics industry is not only a business imperative but is increasingly part of a global push to promote inclusive and sustainable economic development.

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“The Role of Women in Transport and their contribution in facilitating free trade in the SADC Region towards the 4th Industrial Revolution”