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Firstly Happy Women’s Day to all our female readers!

This women’s day we thought of writing on how women fare, are represented in procurement or, supply chain functions. So here we go..

Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo!, Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO of Kraft and the list goes on… but not too far.

Women in Procurement

A survey carried out by Catalyst showed that nos. of executive officer positions held by women in Fortune 500 companies’ stands at 14.6% in 2013, only a marginal increase from 2012 (14.3%). Women’s representation in Fortune 500 leadership positions has stagnated in recent years.

Most of the executive positions held by the women are in Finance, HR, and Marketing. Procurement or Supply Chain has predominantly been considered as a man’s playground. It was no surprise when SCM World did a manual count of top supply chain executives in Fortune 500 companies and found only 22 women among 320 businesses had a true supply chain function. The percentage of female supply chain leaders represented in this sample, 6.9%, is well below the share of women entering the field from university, which is approximately 35%.

Kevin O’Marah, chief content officer at SCM World, said: “Women in supply chain are too few, and their path to the top is at least partially blocked. Yet it seems we all believe they bring something to the party that will make it better. The time to break this problem down is now.”

SCM World also conducted a poll of 150 global supply chain practitioners that showed 96 per cent of women and 74 per cent of men believed that natural skills of women – including emotional intelligence, self awareness, empathy, humility and steadfastness – were “advantageous for supply chain management”.

A second poll of 56 universities around the world showed on average 37 per cent of students on supply chain courses were female, three quarters of universities reported an increase in enrollment by women over the past five years, and 71 per cent expected enrollment to increase further over the next five years.

If the nos. of women enrolling for supply chain courses is on increase, if the natural skills of women are what procurement demands then why does the function have such less women leaders?

Tell us what your views are.


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