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IWD: Women supporting women to find a voice in business

IWD: Women supporting women to find a voice in business
IWD: Women supporting women to find a voice in business

As International Women’s Day ends, many corporations have expressed their gratitude to the women in the industry who are part of the foundation. Attending a podcast live on LinkedIn hosted by Harshida Acharya, women from various sectors, including supply chain, shared their insight into being a woman in the boardroom.

According to a recent report, women make up around 41% of the total supply chain workforce, an all-time high compared to the past years. While many companies have made progress in hiring more females, “there is still a lot to do,” says Acharya. 

In supply chain management, women’s voices are essential. However, Acharya argues that they are often underrepresented.

Women grabbing opportunities

Early in Shoptalk director HG O’Connell’s life, she had to find her feet as a young manager. Many colleagues were suddenly let go of the company where she worked. “So I went from being the most junior person to having all of the responsibilities of the whole department. Suddenly, I was left to figure things out without those mentors we rely on throughout our careers. It was extremely daunting, but I learned so much.”

O’Connell says all of a sudden, she had to speak directly to the senior leadership team. “I had to find my voice to tell them what I was doing daily. I had to figure out when to ask them for advice and when it truly did fall on me.” 

She says it’s not a unique situation. Many women find themselves in this kind of situation. “You never know when your role will shift or when you will have new responsibilities.”

She encourages other women to take on those opportunities when presented with them. O’Connell says it helps women “grow, as daunting and terrifying as possible. The more you can develop your voice like that, it’s an extraordinary opportunity.”

Not just a ‘seat at the table but a voice’

Rebecca Spayne is a managing editor at Hand Media International. She says she found her voice in the business sector when she “felt heard.” 

Spayne says it’s easy for women to feel they are drifting in a company but making that contribution by growing or improving the future. “In the business-to-business world, it’s very easily dominated by men,” she adds.

“Speaking up as a woman previously didn’t feel like an option. But for the first time in my career, my ideas were respected and implemented. I finally have a voice, not just a table seat.”

Stepping out of your comfort zone

Katie Date, a seasoned supply chain professional,  has worked in a male-dominated industry for over 20 years. The tipping point for Date to find her voice in the sector was when she was invited to deliver a keynote address at an international event. Although she had an option to present it in English, she chose to do it in Spanish, which wasn’t her strongest language. 

After her presentation, the handful of women in the hall came to her and thanked her for her bravery. “There is so much importance in showing our vulnerability. Offering a more accurate version of yourself is what’s making an impact, and that’s what people will remember. “

These women have all found their voice to significantly impact the industry. While today is a celebration of women’s empowerment, many say this should not be only an awareness campaign once a year but every day. 

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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