One of my favorite anecdotes about the influence of women in the workplace comes from World War II.
When male enlistment in the US armed forces depleted the domestic labor force, women stepped in. Between 1940 and 1945, women comprised nearly 40 percent of the US domestic workforce, working in factories to produce munitions, ships and airplanes, in addition to staffing offices, hospitals and retail stores. It was a significant shift in how many women were active in the workforce compared to before World War II.
Women from the greatest generation were their own advocates, often seeking out new, challenging opportunities. They championed themselves as essential contributors to not only the war effort, but also the US economy as they kept the country afloat during a critical moment in history.
This year, XPO is embracing a Women’s History Month theme of “I am a champion.” I encourage the women of XPO to embrace their inner champion in all aspects of their lives, including the workplace. To me, this means knowing who you are and what you stand for and advocating for beliefs that are important to you.
At XPO Logistics, we’re using the “I am a champion” (#IAmAChampion) mindset to inform initiatives we’re promoting to elevate women on our team. From supporting third party organizations, such as Girls With Impact, and building a recruiting pipeline of dynamic female candidates to our Grow at XPO program and the XPO RISE Women in Leadership cohort, we’re committed to helping women forge their own paths.
I’m proud to share that some important external partners recognize our work in this area, including the Women in Trucking Association, DiversityJobs.com and Supply Chain Pros, among others. But there’s more to be done.
Looking ahead, there’s a great opportunity for organizations like XPO to cultivate programs for talented, qualified and successful women looking to return to the workforce.
Many women left the workforce during the pandemic, but now they’re eager to come back. They’d make great teammates, and it’s on us to make sure we offer a rewarding career pathway for them.
By generating more positive momentum with a widespread “I am a champion” mindset, I know we can continue to attract women back into the workforce and boost the profile of the many amazing women currently contributing to XPO around the globe.
During this year’s Women’s History Month, it’s important to reflect on the many women who have contributed greatly to our society, from the women of the greatest generation to the women of XPO who kept global supply chains moving during the pandemic. We honor them each time we embrace our inner champion.