Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day are celebrated each March as a way to recognize women's achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality.
This March, we are celebrating the growth of women in supply chain. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Gartner found that women comprise 41% of the supply chain workforce in 2021, up slightly from 39% in 2020, notable considering women's well-documented flight from the workforce after the pandemic hit.
This International Women’s Day, let’s look at some women who have made significant contributions to supply chain technology and some organizations supporting women in supply chain.
Notable Women in Supply Chain History
Edwina Justus and Bonnie Leake
Edwina Justus and Bonnie Leake are the first two female locomotive engineers in history, joining the industry in the 1970’s.
Bonnie Leake was the first ever woman accepted by Union Pacific for training as a locomotive engineer and went on to run trains from Las Vegas, Nevada to Milford, Utah and Yermo, California.
Edwina Justus became the first ever Black female locomotive engineer. She worked to haul freight from North Platte, Nebraska to Cheyenne, Wyoming and Denver, Colorado for over 22 years.
Lillie Elizabeth McGee Drennan
Lizzie Elizabeth McGee Drennan was the first ever licensed female truck driver in the United States. In March of 1928, she began her own trucking company with her husband and transported oil throughout the state of Texas.
She became officially licensed in 1929 when the Railroad Commission began requiring licensure for all truck drivers in the United States.
Lizzie Drennan operated the Drennan Truck line for over 23 years and was commended for her incredible safety record, having never had an accident in her career.
Supporting Women in the Supply Chain Industry
With a growing amount of women joining the supply chain and logistics field, a number of organizations have been formed to support and encourage growth throughout the industry.
Let’s Talk Supply Chain
Sarah Barnes-Humphrey was recently named Top 100 most influential Women Leaders in Supply Chain by B2G and Top 100 most influential Women in Canadian Supply Chain by SCMA. She founded Let’s Talk Supply Chain after working in supply chain and logistics for over 20 years.
Sarah creates content discussing everything from current supply issues to advice on creating a more sustainable supply chain for the future. Check out Women in Supply Chain, a space where Sarah shares insight from women across the industry on the Let’s Talk Supply Chain blog and podcast.
MIT’s Women in Supply Chain Initiative
With the rise of women joining the supply chain and logistics industry, MIT launched the Women in Supply Chain Initiative (WISCI) to better understand gender balance in supply chain careers. Through events and networking, the WISCI aims to support women in the industry, explore how to close the gender gap, and provide mentorship, coaching, and networking opportunities to their community. Check out their events and learn how to get involved.
Founded by Ann Drake in 2013, AWESOME, which stands for “achieving women’s excellence in supply chain operations, management, and education,” has brought together more than 1,500 women in the supply chain field. Today, they hold a variety of events supporting women leaders throughout supply chain organizations and aim to increase the visibility and recognition of female leadership in the supply chain. Check out their requirements to get involved or recommend an AWESOME leader.
At Chain.io, we are proud of the women on our team helping to connect partners across the global supply chain. Learn more about Chain.io, check out our open positions, and follow along on LinkedIn to stay connected.Follow Chain.io on LinkedIn
A version of this blog was originally published on March 7, 2022. We've updated this edition with new links and information.