The Women Inspiring Women to Lead in Transport initiative (WIWLT), comprising three bespoke programmes, is set to have a far-reaching impact on not only the transport and logistics sectors, but on other key industries. Championed by the Commercial Transport Academy and supported by the U.S. government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Programme will see almost 1 000 women – 120 female professionals, 300 entrepreneurs and 495 truck drivers – being trained and mentored over a three-year period. The brainchild of the CTA, this extraordinary initiative was launched on 20 August 2021.
“The reality is that greater participation of women within the sector is important for diversification, yet the last recorded data from StatsSA suggests that women only make up around 17.5% of the working population,” said Nicci Scott, CTA’s Founder. “This reinforces that the sector remains a non-traditional environment for women.”
“Our programme provides an opportunity for greater community upliftment, as we know that when women are developed, empowered, and have access to equal employment opportunities, it increases diversity and equal payment opportunities,” she continued.
“Women being empowered economically also assist us in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 5, to achieve gender equality, and Goal 8, to promote full and productive employment and decent work for all; also Goal 1 to end poverty, Goal 2 on food security, Goal 3 to ensure health and Goal 10 to reduce inequalities,” added Scott.
Commenting on the importance of this programme and on the need to develop women, Kevin Sturr – Acting Mission Director: USAID Southern Africa, said: “Investing in women’s economic empowerment builds resilient and self-reliant countries. No country can succeed if it excludes the talents and voices of half its population. When women do better, countries do better, communities do better, and families do better.”
Explaining the idea behind Women Inspiring Women to Lead in Transport, Scott explained: “We wanted to create a bold programme that went beyond the stock standard skills programme, to identify areas within the industry upon which we could really have a positive impact, where we could empower entrepreneurs, inspire female professionals to lead from wherever they find themselves and to assist women to break down barriers and embark on new career and occupation choices not usually associated with women.”
To do this, the CTA created three programmes that are being implemented over the course of three years:
- Run-with-it: This programme will empower 300 women business owners to be bold. It will assist them in the development of their toolbox of skills, to identify market opportunities, be business ready to participate, make decisions and take action to build sustainable businesses.
- The CTA Excellence Programme that will inspire 120 women employed within the various transport related industries to lead within their organisations, by nurturing their leadership and managerial skills.
- The Iron Women programme will assist 450 women and 45 men to become professional truck and owner drivers. This programme will assist women break down the barriers and overcome the challenges of becoming a professional truck driver. while the CTA works tirelessly to build the ecosystem to support these women.
Collaboration for Success
Scott said that the transport industry’s support for the programme has been “excellent”, with industry groupings such as Truckers for Unity South Africa, the SA Express Parcel Association and the Road Freight Association, actively supporting the Programme. Corporate South Africa has also thrown its weight behind the initiative. She urges more companies to contact the CTA to discover how they can support this important programme. Interested organisations can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Strong Industry Support
The Women Inspiring Women to Lead in Transport is supported by USAID, Hollard, Volvo, Iron Women, Highway Heroes, Ctrack, Standard Bank and Onelogix/Trucklogix. The academic partners include the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and Commerce Edge.