In delivering its annual engagement plan, CIPS MENA recently organized a networking event entitled ‘The Impact of Women in Procurement’ – an event which attracted over 100 Procurement and Supply Chain professionals from across the region. The event focused on the many achievements of women in procurement both in the region and in the industry as a whole and what I find most interesting in topics associated with connotations of gender, is how these connotations have evolved over the years.
In a recent article on women in the Aviation industry, it mentions that only 6% of pilots currently operating within commercial airlines are female, a staggering number considering the numbers associated with other positions in the industry. Now compare this with the once male dominated medical sector and you’ll find that the number of females graduating in the field of medicine has increased to almost 40 percent in the last 30 years. I think it’s fair to say that the Aviation industry is disparately lagging in the employment of women in more diverse sectors of the industry. Mr. Saeed Al Ameri, Vice President of Procurement, Contracts and Logistics at Abu Dhabi Airports and panelist at the event highlighted that for Procurement in Aviation however, the statistics show a different light on the participation of women within the industry. In his team for example, roughly 38% of procurement staff are women and of the 38%, 20% of them command senior roles within the department, so the big question is, what is procurement doing right that other industries aren’t?
Throughout the discussion, many suggestions were made around the different ways in which we as procurement professionals can make the profession more attractive to women, suggestions such as introducing mentoring programs run by successful women in procurement and being more involved in social media forums to increase awareness on a larger scale, but one perspective in particular that stood out for me was the need to promote the profession to young budding professionals in the early stages of their education; Many of whom are unaware of the field to begin with. By educating young ambitious women through events such as these and through collaborations with universities and colleges, we’d be taking drastic steps in bridging the gap between men and females early on from entry level to higher management.
The common consensus and key takeaway from this discussion was that by increasing the number of women in procurement, it will in turn have a positive impact on delivering procurements key objectives as a whole. The industry will benefit from some of the natural traits associated with women such as high emotional intelligence, strong negotiation skills, effective communication and their ability to build and maintain cohesive teams.
We’d love to hear some of your views on the impact of women in Procurement! Look out for the next CIPS MENA event on Procurement and Project Management on Wednesday 26th November 2014 where I will be a guest panelist on the day. For more information email CIPS at firstname.lastname@example.org