Don advocates women’s participation in transport business

University don, Emmanuel Mogaji, has advocated a multi-faceted approach that challenges existing norms, to support women’s empowerment and opens pathways for their active involvement in the transport industry in Africa.

According to him, the transport industry remains a stronghold of male domination, limiting women’s participation and impeding their progress. The prevalence of male-centric work environments, norms and practices perpetuates an unequal landscape, excluding women from decision-making roles and business leadership.

These systemic biases, he said, undermine the contributions of capable and talented women entrepreneurs, hindering the sector’s overall growth and innovation potential.

He explained that women have always been known to be entrepreneurs, getting involved in business activities to support their families but the exploration of women’s engagement in family-owned transportation businesses in Africa highlights a compelling need for change in the wake of deeply ingrained patriarchal norms, inadequate infrastructure and the pervasive male-dominated nature of the industry.

Mogaji, an Associate Professor at Keele Business School, United Kingdom, in a paper titled, ‘Women entrepreneurs in transport family business: A perspective article’, said the patriarchal structure entrenched in African societies often positions men as the natural heads of families and businesses, perpetuating gender-based hierarchies where business succession typically favours sons over daughters.

He said this unequal distribution of opportunities due to gender biases, requires rigorous investigation, shedding light on the intricacies of women’s roles within family-owned transport enterprises.

The don said in the backdrop of gendered cultural norms, Africa’s transportation landscape grapples with significant infrastructural challenges. The substandard infrastructure poses serious obstacles to business operations, affecting the already intricate dynamics of family-owned transportation ventures.

According to him, poor road networks, insufficient support facilities, and unreliable connectivity hamper transport businesses, disproportionately impacting women entrepreneurs. Such hurdles highlight the need for tailored strategies and interventions that consider the unique struggles women face in this context, emphasizing the intersection of gender and infrastructure in influencing their prospects.

To enhance women’s engagement in the transportation industry, Mogaji said amidst the complex interplay between deeply rooted patriarchal structures, infrastructure limitations, and male-dominated industry dynamics, a comprehensive set of action plans can be implemented.

He said proactive measures should be taken to promote and cultivate women’s active participation and leadership roles within the sector. This includes initiatives such as mentorship programmes, provision of resources and skill development opportunities, all of which can contribute to narrowing the gender gap and achieving a more equitable representation of women in the field.

He noted that encouraging family-owned businesses to embrace gender diversity and extend equal opportunities for women to join their boards can significantly impact decision-making processes and foster sustained industry growth.

He said as women venture into entrepreneurship within the transport domain, it is pivotal to provide unwavering support that propels economic advancement and paves the way for a thriving and inclusive transportation sector.

He noted that promoting women’s pursuit of education and training in transport-related fields equips them with the essential knowledge and expertise required for thriving in this industry. In tandem, mentorship programmes and networking initiatives can offer valuable guidance and backing as women navigate the traditionally male-dominated landscape.

He said involving women in decision-making processes is essential, as it provides broader perspectives that yield more innovative and effective strategies.

He explained that embracing gender diversity is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic move that can optimize growth and achievement.

According to him, numerous studies demonstrate that gender-balanced decision-making leads to enhanced outcomes, including improved financial performance, superior organizational creativity, and heightened customer satisfaction.

Additionally, he said women’s prioritization of safety and passenger comfort can positively impact customer experiences. Women leaders are known to foster collaborative and supportive work cultures, which he said translates to heightened employee engagement and retention rates.

He said by establishing an environment that appreciates and supports women’s contributions, family-owned transportation businesses can harness a wealth of talent, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit. This approach positions these businesses as forward-thinking and socially responsible leaders within the industry.

Source: The Guardian

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