American Shipper — Women still only occupy a paltry percentage of leadership jobs in the shipping and logistics industry, and it’s up to everyone involved to be part of the solution. The shipping and logistics industry is unique in many ways, but it is similar to many in that women are not given the same advancement opportunities as men. Workforce composition and pay inequality statistics make this fact perfectly obvious. But it’s in the stories of industry veterans that some of the details behind those statistics start to emerge. Company cultures that don’t foster career development for women. A lack of women in leadership positions to act as role models. Systemic, albeit often subconscious, prejudices against women. All those factors, and more, lead to situations where ambitious women are characterized as emotional and overbearing, rather than passionate and assertive, as their male colleagues might be seen in similar circumstances.
In recent conversations American Shipper had with a number of female veteran executives either currently or formerly involved in shipping and logistics, a number of patterns emerged. Tania Garcia, Senior Vice President of Marketing at American Global Logistics (AGL) said: “Your career is your responsibility and your responsibility only. The onus is on each of us, male or female, to seek the next step. I think it’s dangerous to blame a lack of movement on anyone else. If woman is in a company that does that, she should do everything in her power to get somewhere else.”
Garcia is somewhat of a newcomer to logistics, though she did spend time at UPS more than a decade ago before joining AGL in 2017. She said logistics isn’t all that different from other industries in terms of leadership equality. “My experience in logistics is that the most common frustration for women is not being taken seriously,” she said. “People underestimating women and their capability and intelligence. That sucks. But my experience is also that if you present yourself properly and do the work, the superficial part recedes and the intelligence takes precedence.”