It's time to close the gender gap in the supply chain

It's no surprise that people are promoting gender equality across all industries in many countries across the world. Not only are people fighting for equal pay for equal work, but they are also advocating for the same opportunities to be made available to both men and women in a given field. There are skills both genders possess that would deem them qualified for careers in procurement and manufacturing - no longer are most jobs defined by their need for brute strength, but rather the willingness to put in the time and learn a new trade.

For some, anything to do with labor was seen as a man's job, and in the past, men's perceived superior ability to lift objects and control big rigs may have been deciding factors. In 2015, however, the supply chain has myriad positions for both men and women and there is a call for recruitment within the sector to be as inclusive as possible.

Creating opportunity

It's a known fact that businesses of all shapes and sizes need to have a certain amount of diversity in their company. The government has even gone so far as to mandate that women and other minority groups make up a certain percentage of workers. And while there are many women who would be willing and suited for jobs in the supply chain and procurement services, Supply Management reported that only 7 percent of senior leadership positions are held by women.

The source indicated that men are more likely to rise in their companies from the very bottom, whereas women rarely join as attendants on the shop floor. To remedy this issue, the article noted that firms should be looking for women graduating from college or vocational programs and creating access to positions that would eventually lead straight to the top. Many agree that having a diverse team in terms of intellectual and emotional intelligence allows for the best decision-making, rather than relying too heavily on gut instincts or analytics.

Visibility is key

One reason that women do not enter into procurement or manufacturing is that many are unaware that there are viable positions to be had. Many efforts are in place to help eradicate the gap, including various websites and symposiums. What these outlets hope to accomplish is to prove to women that they are necessary candidates for jobs in manufacturing or procurement. Sure, not all women will be satisfied with a position on a warehouse floor (just as some men won't either), but that does not mean women need to enter the field from the very bottom.

Women in Supply Chain, or WISC, is an initiative spearheaded by the Van Horne Institute that believes the gap is not a female issue, but rather a talent one. WISC offers information about events to attend and opportunities to grasp, specifically geared toward a female audience. The site makes a point to note some skills required and gained in the field that may appeal to women from various educational and intellectual backgrounds. Some skills include financial planning, knowledge of laws and general management abilities that can easily be transferred to other professions should the need arise.

It is not only important for women to enter into the supply chain to meet government quotas, but to round out the perspective of the employees at firms within the sector. The supply chain affects everyone and men and women should be equally represented within it. It should not be seen as solely a man's domain, but a profession that allows individuals to come together and provide a necessary service to the world.

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