Ladies in Logistics: “Today, skills and especially personality are crucial”
Women are still a minority in today’s logistics industry. The LGI newsletter editorial team took this as an opportunity to talk to Martina Weihing. Among other things, the experienced division manager has asked herself how women are perceived in logistics today and to what extent family and career are compatible.
LGI: Dear Martina, you’ve been one of the few women working as a major division manager at LGI for some years now. In the past, logistics has been seen in many circles as a male domain – what’s it like today?
Martina: Society and the economy have changed in recent decades. Topic fields have become more variable everywhere, including in logistics. Communication, networking, and internationality are playing an increasingly important role there. That makes our field of work interesting for a broader target group, regardless of gender. The fact that a lot has happened and is still happening can be seen when you go to the universities. When I was in school, women were in the absolute minority in the field of logistics. When I talk to my professor today, roughly 50 percent of the students are women.
LGI: As the group spokesperson of the BVL, you organize Ladies in Logistics. What added value do you see in these events?
Martina: I notice that BVL events are usually attended by men. That’s why Ladies in Logistics is an alternative format to offer women a forum for networking. The events are also really well received. We swap ideas on all kinds of logistics topics, and of course, also address points that are of particular interest to women.
LGI: Are there moments when you’re perceived differently as a woman in your professional life than a man?
Martina: Generally speaking, there are definitely still companies or environments where women are treated differently – although in my view, these are in the minority. Nowadays, skills, knowledge, experience, and especially personality decide how you are perceived. Twenty years ago, it was a little different. But I honestly have to say that my long professional experience makes it easier for me. It would be interesting to ask young women just starting their careers what they think.
LGI: How will the perception of women and men in logistics develop, looking ten years into the future?
Martina: I don’t think there’s going to be much difference anymore. Women and men are equally well trained, and mixed teams are perceived as an enrichment. I see more potential in concepts that support young parents even better in the family phase. But it is already possible today for a parent to combine career and private life. The relationship model has changed in recent years. The ‘classic’ family constellation is a thing of the past.
Don’t think there’s going to be much difference anymore
LGI: Family and career at the same time – does it work?
Martina: It worked well for me, because LGI gave me the opportunity to work flexibly when my son was little. Time and time again, young female LGI employees come to me asking this question. I always pass on two pieces of advice. Number 1: Establish a flexible network. In addition to the daycare center or kindergarten and the parents, private support, e.g. from grandparents, is extremely helpful. Number 2: Be prepared to work in a disciplined and flexible manner. I have to ask myself whether I also want to work at less usual times. All in all, digitalization and flexibility make it much easier for us nowadays. Often, the place where you work plays only a subordinate role.
LGI: Thank you for the interview!
Julian Valachovic conducted the interview.