“When you feel like you’re in a separate box, why would you create a new box to put yourself in?”

Dear Editor,

I’ve recently noticed a trend in the need to stand up for “Women in Breakbulk”, all the while creating more boxes for women to fit in. Where does this come from? Is it all because of the women empowerment movement or do women in the industry notice rejection? For the past 35 years, the number of women in the industry has grown, but this is true for all industries. Women have been keener to work instead of staying home and being a housewife or mum. In 1966 women were working in the breakbulk industry, this was not seen as unusual. In fact, there were well-known family companies run by women at the top of the industry.

Being a woman in “a man’s world” is something that is discussed throughout the world and in many industries. Breakbulk is no exception and it can be a challenging industry to work in for both women and men. What I would rather discuss is people in Breakbulk and their talents. We all have our own and why should this be tied to gender?

The number of women in the industry does not mean there is low or high acceptance. Many people are just not interested in working in this industry. Simply said it is not everyone’s piece of cake.
We see both women and men leading our industry and teaching new talent how to lead. If you have the leadership drive, then you will thrive within the industry being either a woman or a man. In Leadership, it is all about your input. Your attitude is what makes the difference not if you were born male or female.

Has it taken a while for the overall acceptance of women in any working industry? Yes of course! Something that will not sound foreign to any of us. But women have themselves woken up in this process and spoken up about wanting to become leaders and work in a so-called “man’s world”. This is more of a historic cultural discussion than an industry discussion.

In Breakbulk, is it not about having the right and experienced people in the right jobs? For many companies having both men and women in a team makes for a well-balanced work environment. All women and men are different and we all bring something else to the table. Empowering all people and all of their different qualities. Is that not the conversation worth having, rather than creating new boxes for women to stand out? Because no man or woman is the same, we are all unique.

That’s what needs to stand out.


Michelle, Project Logistics Manager

The Netherlands

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