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Celebrating Historic Women in Logistics
March 8 is International Women's Day, and what better way to celebrate than to highlight pioneering women in logistics!
Women in logistics vector

March is Women’s History Month, which makes it the perfect time to revisit the achievements of women in logistics.

Here are a few astonishing statistics: in 2019 and 2020, women made up 39% of supply chain roles, a sizable minority. In 2016, a Bureau of Labor Statistics study found that four of the eight occupations that did not show a gender-based pay disparity were in logistics. And the 2021 ASCM Supply Chain Salary and Career Report found that women under forty in supply chain management out-earned men by an average of $2,000 per year!

At Able Freight, we’re excited to be in afield that is committed to equality in the workplace. And we want to commemorate this progress by calling out women who were pioneers, historically, in the logistics field. We think that’s worth bragging about.

Today, we’re blown away by the level of support out there for women in logistics. Our blog readers may be familiar with the Women in Trucking Association, Women in Logistics, AWESOME, or the MIT Women in Supply Chain Initiative. But it wasn’t always that way. Read on for a few of our favorite female ‘firsts’ in logistics careers.

Woman in front of logistic trucks

First female president of a railroad - In 1901, Sarah Clark-Kidder was voted in as president of the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad after her husband’s death. She paid off hundreds of thousands in company debt and added $180,000 to the company surplus during her tenure. Oh, and this came at a time when only 5% of married women worked outside of the home.

First female trucker - Lillie Drennan stared down multiple obstacles during her career. Not only was she female, but she lost most of her hearing as a child. She and her husband started the Drennan Truck Line in 1928, during which she began driving to help grow the business. After getting divorced in 1929, Lillie got her license from the Railroad Commission and became the sole owner of the Drennan Truck Line.

First woman to earn a pilot’s license -  Raymonde de Laroche was the first woman to earn a pilot’s license. As a French baroness, she initially learned to fly from Charles Voisin as a hobby. In 1910, she received her pilot’s license and went on to fly competitively.

First Female Commercial Pilot - Before 1973, there were no female commercial airline pilots. Emily Howell-Warner changed that when she accepted a job from Frontier Airlines. She flew for Frontier until 1986 when the airline closed, then went on to take positions with Continental and UPS. By the time she retired in 2002, she had logged over 21,000 flight hours.

First Female Naval Petty Officer - Ok, we admit that this isn’t quite logistics. But we couldn’t leave marine accomplishments out. Loretta Perfectus Walsh was the first woman to become a Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy in 1917. After the U.S. Naval Reserve Act of 1916 broadened its language to enlist qualified ‘persons,’ women began enlisting, and Walsh was at the head of the pack. In March of 1917, he was sworn in as Chief Yeoman, becoming the first female Chief Petty Officer in naval history.

So there you have it! Which women in logistics are you most inspired by today? Five women who broke barriers and forged new paths in planes, trains, and automobiles.

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