WOMEN IN LOGISTICS: Fostering a male-female balance


Logistics has traditionally been a male-dominated industry. Although this gender gap is slowly closing, it remains significant. For instance, women make up only 6% or less of the truck driver population in Europe. Addressing this imbalance could not only help solve the driver shortage but also improve gender balance among drivers.

The industry also faces gender imbalance in operational roles and leadership positions due to historical perceptions and current job requirements. A better male-female balance would increase job attractiveness for potential employees and improve organizational culture and performance.

Research shows that diverse teams are stronger and more successful, with inclusive companies often experiencing better business outcomes. However, leadership positions in logistics are still predominantly held by men.

The economic impact of achieving a better gender balance is immense. The International Labor Organization analyzed diversity management in 13,000 companies across 70 countries and concluded that more diverse companies perform better in terms of talent recruitment and retention, creativity, innovation, and turnover. Similarly, BlackRock’s analysis of 1,500 MSCI companies over the past decade found that companies with the most diverse workforces outperformed their less diverse peers in return on assets (RoA) by 29% per year from 2013 to 2022.

Yet, the World Economic Forum projects that achieving global business-wide gender balance will take 131 years. Given that this projection is likely worse for the male-dominated logistics industry, urgent action is needed.

Collaboration for Change

Women in Logistics is an industry-wide initiative founded by Dow and H.Essers, along with sector associations ECTA and Cefic triggered by Dow’s rollout of its Supplier Diversity Strategy, and H.Essers’ diversity ambitions as a certified female-owned company the two companies decided to reach out to the entire industry to collaborate on bridging the gender gap and promoting an inclusive environment. They received immediate support and engagement from ECTA, the EU association of chemical logistics providers, and Cefic, the EU association of chemical industry. From their respective members, six companies – Den Hartogh, Bertschi, Suttons Tankers, LyondellBasell, Eastman, and Covestro— have pledged their involvement and joined the Women in Logistics (WIL) board. Together, these ten organizations aim to champion diversity in the industry and to accelerate the closing of the gender gap in European chemical logistics.

Women in Logistics strives to create a more attractive, equitable, and innovative logistics sector.

Bridging the gender gap

To effectively implement The focus of the WIL consortium is on achieving a better male-female balance in European logistics, starting with the chemical sector. Our approach begins with small steps, ensuring gradual progress and sustainable change. Based on data-driven top-down awareness, WIL wants to be an inspiring platform for company action plans. The consortium aims to drive commitment to optimizing conditions that promote diversity while creating an inclusive and thriving logistics ecosystem.

Closing the gender gap in the European logistics sector is essential, but achieving a good balance is more important than strict. Research shows that even a 30/70 female/male balance can have a significant positive impact. By mixing skills within teams, we can achieve the best results, which indirectly means having a good mix of genders. This balanced approach not only enhances team performance but also fosters innovation, sustainability, compliance, and resilience in the logistics industry.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion aims to create a work environment where all employees feel valued and can thrive. By focusing on these principles, we believe a diverse logistics sector is better in many respects, and at the same time, it will also attract more diverse talent. Both forces will thus reinforce each other ultimately driving success and growth

Embark on this journey

As we embark on this journey, we invite industry stakeholders to join in our efforts. By focusing on leadership, drivers, and operators, the initiative aims to drive meaningful change and create a more diverse and inclusive industry landscape. Through collaborative efforts and ongoing engagement, Women in Logistics is committed to advancing gender equity and empowering women across all levels of the logistics sector.



To effectively implement the goals of Women in Logistics, a multifaceted approach is essential:

Top down

Leadership endorsement is pivotal. Top management must champion gender diversity, setting the tone for an inclusive culture. Change needs to be driven from the top.

Bottom up

A strong foundation at all organizational levels is crucial. With support from top management, transformation happens across the organization, with initiatives and best practices emerging from the ground up. Engaging lower management, such as team leaders, is essential for grassroots support and aligning daily operations.

Inside out

Sharing success stories from other members fosters collaboration and innovation within our EU logistics community, inspiring tailored strategies. We believe in “co-opetition”: collaboration beyond competition.

Outside in

Leveraging our collective influence, we will advocate for legislative support and other impactful instruments promoting gender parity beyond our organization. This proactive stance reinforces our commitment to societal change.


By establishing dedicated working groups for each target group, we aim to drive meaningful change and foster a more inclusive and diverse industry landscape. They will amongst other initiatives, organize webinars and workshops to disseminate best practices, facilitate knowledge sharing, and foster dialogue among industry peers. Through collaborative efforts, focused actions, and ongoing engagement with stakeholders, we are committed to advancing gender equity and empowering women across all levels of the logistics sector.

To provide a concrete roadmap for our endeavors, Women in Logistics has chosen to concentrate efforts on three key target groups:

  • Recognizing the influential role of top management in driving organizational change, we will establish a dedicated working group. This group will collaborate to draft actionable initiatives aimed at ensuring equal opportunities for women in promotions and new leadership hires. By empowering leadership to champion diversity initiatives, we aim to create a culture that values and prioritizes gender equity at the highest levels of decision-making.

  • Recognizing the underrepresentation of women in driving roles within the logistics sector, we are committed to empowering female drivers. A dedicated working group will address the unique challenges faced by women in this field and develop strategies to attract and retain talent. By providing opportunities for skill development, mentorship, and advocacy, we aim to break down barriers and create a more inclusive environment for female drivers.

  • Operational roles form the backbone of the logistics industry, yet gender disparities persist in this domain. The working group will focus on sharing best practices, developing new ideas, and creating frameworks to drive change and support sector and policy initiatives.

Be part of the movement to close the gender gap in logistics, promoting diversity, innovation, and better business outcomes for all.