More women needed in EA logistics industry

Uganda’s logistics industry can do better if more women are allowed to join the sector, a new study by lobby group TradeMark East Africa says, adding that women enhance workplace diversity by providing unique job skills.

According to the report released recently, women working in Uganda’s logistics sector make up only 15.8 percent, compared to Rwanda’s 33.3 percent.

Uganda is almost matched by Burundi which trails at 15.6 percent women in the sector while Kenya can only boast of 20.5 percent, as her southern neighbour Tanzania, like Uganda, absorbs only 15.8 percent.

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The study indicates that 68 percent of female employees in the logistics sector find working conditions ‘very poor’ as opposed to only 13 percent who find the conditions ‘good’.

Collectively, the East Africa region only has 19.73 per cent of its women in the logistics industry with men taking up the remaining 80.21 per cent of the jobs. This statistic, according to the report circulated to the private sector and government agencies, has to be improved in favour women through affirmative action.

“East Africa’s logistics industry faces a significant skills gap and the region could make up on much needed skills by enhancing women’s participation. We need to get to that level where more women take up relevant training courses and eventually these jobs so that we all grow the economies,” TradeMark East Africa Director of Trade Logistics Abhishek Sharma says in the report.

Further, according to the study, the entry of young women to the industry is very narrow, a situation likely to make the sector worsen as women in the region are failing to enroll in logistics-related training.

Discrimination at the work place, unsupportive industry and work environment, sexual harassment, cultural and societal barriers, information and awareness were also outlined as the key challenges that hinder the participation of women in this sector.

To address these challenges, the report  said there is need for logistics firms to forge partnerships with relevant stakeholders so that appropriate policy frameworks are put in place to enable the region’s women participate more in the industry.


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