Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Road Haulage Association Launches its Women Only Project to the Logistics Industry

Plans to Develop the Single Sex Sector
Shipping News Feature
UK – It might almost be un-PC to establish a single sex division within an organisation these days but, given the prevalence of men which still exists in much of the transport industry one can forgive the Road Haulage Association (RHA) its latest venture, ‘She’s RHA’, which saw a healthy turnout of 71 guests at its launch and inaugural meeting. She’s RHA will now feature at RHA and logistics industry events throughout the year, including the Spring Conference in Windermere in March, the Commercial Vehicle Show, the Microlise Conference and the RHA’s own Compliance Conference.

The recent event was declared a resounding success and the gathered ladies heard from a succession of speakers after the event was opened with words of welcome from RHA board member and partner at Freightlink Europe, Lesley O’Brien who said:

“She’s RHA grew from something as simple as a group of ladies arranging small get-togethers before industry-related events. Usually, we would meet for coffee or lunch. In addition to socializing however, we would be discussing industry related issues, sharing best practice and ideas. As our meetings and relationship grew, a support mechanism developed. Others noted that not only were we discussing business, but we were having a great deal of fun and it was decided that the group should be expanded to other RHA ladies, the result was She’s RHA.

“She’s RHA is open to women of all job roles and age groups, welcoming a variety of skills. The idea is that members not only support one another but they are able to get involved in other areas such as supporting the RHA as a trade body in promoting policy or working with schools and colleges to encourage young people and women to enter the industry. We want to be a sounding-board of information for woman. The McKinsey report evidenced that more diverse companies do better with women on the team and the haulage industry is no exception. Great minds don’t always think alike - great minds think differently and we want to encourage diversity of thought and bring those minds together.“

Following speakers included blue chip company consultant Charlotte Sweeney who pointed out that with a quarter of a billion women having entered the global workforce in the last decade, and despite 55% of the UK’s population being women, only 8% of Britain’s female population work in logistics.

Andrea Jenkins, Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood was pleased to point out that her father was a haulier and therefore she spent much of her youth as a driver’s mate. She was of the firm opinion that the lack of women in the haulage and logistics industry wasn’t just gender-based. She then topped off her speech by using her classically trained, opera singers voice to serenade the company.

The final speaker, commercial director of Horsepower Training, Sharon Dayson, described the company’s approach of attracting women to LGV driving through taster days in conjunction with local hauliers pointing out that driving can offer women flexibility and freedom with a living wage.

Photo: The First She’s RHA gathering.