Holcim Launches Gender Diversity Programme to Get More Females in the Driver’s Seat (Women on Wheels) 

Holcim Launches Gender Diversity Programme to Get More Females in the Driver’s Seat (Women on Wheels) 

Holcim builds progress for people and the planet. And this includes our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion in our 120,000 strong truck driver force. 

Nothing prevents women from doing the job. Let’s fight the myth.  

As a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, Holcim (IRF Member) employs around 70,000 people who are passionate about building progress across our 60 markets and four business segments: Cement, Ready-Mix Concrete, Aggregates, and Solutions & Products.

All that cement, concrete, aggregates, and building products have to be transported to reach their end-users. Third-party logistics providers fulfill 95% of our transport needs, employing around 120,000 predominantly male truck drivers.  

Within Holcim, the first initiative to encourage female drivers originated in 2018 in Uganda where a forward-looking country organisation wanted to establish a balanced driver workforce within its own newly established truck fleet. An added focus was placed on training, mentoring, and coaching as well as equal pay and treatment, good facilities and improved emergency response. 

Drivers’ performance is measured according to global KPIs for speed, hours of service, harsh braking, and accelerating using an in-Vehicle Monitoring System. Using this data, the benefits of the original programme in Uganda are remarkable: 

  • 7% increase in safe km driven 
  • 6% more mileage per liter of fuel compared to their male counterparts 
  • 12% improvement in fleet turnaround time 
  • 15% lower vehicle maintenance costs 
  • Improved customer relations 

Astrid van der Burgt, the Head of Road Safety at Holcim says: “The programme changed the narrative in the country, showing that women drive trucks just as well as men. Women are empowered to change the perspective and culture in the country, and our colleagues in Uganda are justifiably proud of this.” 

The global framework released on International Women’s Day emphasizes the importance of good preparation for such a programme. Some of the issues to resolve before even thinking about recruiting women are safety (e.g., safe parking areas or rest houses with decent and hygienic facilities, emergency response in case of an emergency), a good work/life balance (especially for night trips), and vehicle suitability (e.g. ability to adjust sufficiently the height of the seat, the steering wheel or the gear shift). 

In an effort to reach as many women as possible and to give them the confidence these are trustworthy schemes, the Holcim Women on Wheels national programmes proactively seek to build partnerships with transporters, training organisations, vehicle manufacturers, trade associations, or other umbrella organisations and organisations which will lend credibilities such as a transport safety authority or a national occupational safety service. 

Since the original initiative in Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Kenya, Mexico, and the USA have all developed their own programmes. Over 150 additional female drivers have joined their ranks as part of these programmes.   

Why do female drivers make good business sense? 

  • There is a global shortage of truck drivers. 
  • Women appear to be, on average, safer drivers than men. 
  • Early analysis indicates that female driving habits can contribute to improved fuel consumption, less maintenance, and less vehicle wear and tear, saving expenditures in the long term. 

All countries in the Holcim Group are encouraged to copy this initiative in 2022. The mantra? Together, let’s encourage diversity amongst our drivers. 

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