This week our discussion on gender issues in trucking continues with a response from Urszula Kelly, Managing Director UC Logistics in Perth.
“I’m writing to respond to a recent piece you published on the domination of the industry by older white males,” writes Urszula.
“As a 31-year-old female head of a transport and logisitcs company, this is an issue I have thought deeply about. This gender imbalance issue was very apparent when I spoke at ComVec (heavy vehicle engineering conference) in 2018 where more than 100 men were in the audience, and maybe 2 or 3 females. The event was widely advertised to all audiences and open to everyone, so where were all the women?
“This same poor women-to-men ratio is reflected in the T&L sector where women account for less than 20 per cent of the workforce. And it’s this, that has probably given rise to trendy women’s networks.Perhaps because I fit the ‘feminist’ profile so well, I often get swamped with invitations to participate in these women only networks, their events, workspaces and awards.
“I refuse every single one of them.
“Why? Because I want to be recognised as a leader, not a female leader. I want to talk about my work as a logistician, not as a female logistician. I want to be involved in things where everyone is invited – whether male or female. These women’s groups often host events with brilliant presenters and everyone, not just females would benefit from participating.
“I recognise there may be a place for women’s transport networks in several emerging and developing nations where they can be a much-needed catalyst for change in a strongly male dominated environment. But now, in Australia, great events, seminars, webinars and workshops should be a drawcard for women and men, especially for those in their early careers.
“Don’t get me wrong; I agree there’s a lot of work to be done to achieve a real equality in our industry, but we won’t achieve this the way we are going. We no longer encourage women to come join our industry as a whole but have resorted to trying to separate them, locking them away in the comforts of women only groups, where our main ‘problem’ (men) are not allowed and we fool ourselves it’s a show of ‘girl power and strength’.
“The idea behind the so-called equality movement as a broader social movement is very positive and we have started something great, but we are going about building women’s participation in our industry in the completely wrong way.
“We are demonising men and take credibility away from real hard-working women out there – and trust me, there are plenty of them. They, like me, don’t expect recognition for being female but for being good at their jobs regardless of their gender.
“It seems that from a starting place of equality we have slipped into fighting for the superiority of women over men. All humans are equal and to follow sheep-like this ‘women only’ trend is illogical and most importantly dangerous to the harmony and genuine balance in industries.
“The best thing women can do for equality is to get to work instead of expecting special consideration for being female and blaming lack of success on men. I see a lot of unfairness in the society and it is not okay to be misogynist, but somehow, it’s become totally okay to be philogynist. Just imagine for a second, what would happen if we ran a men only industry association. The outcry of ‘sexist’ and ‘discriminatory’ would be swift and sharp.”
Diesel News welcomes any response to this opinion piece by others who have an interest in this subject. Contact: email@example.com