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Data indicates that the transport industry in South Africa is “one of the least gender-transformed sectors”, with women making up less than 1% of the working driver population. Not only do women need to overcome the lack of transformation, inclusion, diversity and equity, but according to Laura Hinton, Chief People Officer at PwC, recent findings of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) revealed that the gender equality index is expected to fall by a further two points from 2017. Hinton goes on to say that “we have absolutely no time to lose in addressing the very real impact of the pandemic on women."
With this in mind, the Commercial Transport Academy (CTA) is hosting an online dialogue titled “Women in Transport: Unlocking Opportunities for Female Truck Drivers and Couriers” on Wednesday 17 March 2021 from 10h00 to 12h00.
“The under-representation of women truck drivers and couriers in comparison to other countries needs to change,” says Nicci Scott, founder of the CTA. In the USA, 7% of truck drivers are female, whilst in Australia this figure rises to 20%. “The physical barriers of the past have evolved with modern technology, making it possible for women truck drivers to enter the industry,” she adds. “While South Africa continues to experience a high unemployment rate, it also has an undersupply of qualified and skilled truck drivers to meet industry demands. Interventions are urgently required to increase the pool of accredited and licensed drivers, to not only deal with the existing human resource gap, but to allow the industry to continue to grow.”
Scott acknowledges that women working in the transport industry face many challenges, but also believes there are solutions to these. “Changing the traditional mindset and stereotypical way of thinking and working with unconscious bias are just some of the barriers; however, we are committed to addressing these and other challenges,” says Scott. “We have no doubt that at times we may even struggle to find women interested in embarking on this non-traditional career”.
The online dialogue will explore issues such as:
Response to the online dialogue has been overwhelmingly positive. “The industry is ready and eager to engage on these issues, learn from each other and bring about meaningful change,” continues Scott. “Our series of online dialogues are focused on facilitating the building of an industry-supported eco-system for women to thrive in the transport industry.”
The exciting line-up of industry specialists include:
The following organisations and companies are supporting the dialogue series: