The road to gender equality

Małaszewicze

The road to gender equality

18 May 2018 Małaszewicze

by David Couliau

Women at every level

Back in Warsaw, I hopped on a truck and headed south-east to Małaszewicze, the biggest customs free zone in Poland, at the Belarusian border. 

A determined woman with 25 years of experience, Eva runs the area where companies store goods while they take care of their customs paperwork. With an important job at hand and despite her busy schedule, she is friendly and welcoming to visitors and employees alike. 

The first thing that stands out at Małaszewicze is that there are many women working in the offices as well as in the warehouses. Women are present at every level, from management to forklift driving. Eva collaborates extensively with Adampol, a big Polish company with a huge fleet of trucks. “The majority of their employees are women.” They are treated no differently to the men, they are given the same opportunities.

But few behind the wheel

Eva’s optimism about the future for women in the industry is inspiring. But another powerful woman with a career spanning 20 years, has a less positive view. She is the customs director on the Polish side of the border. Although she works only a few kilometers away from Eva, she feels that there is not enough effort made to integrate women into the industry. 1500 trucks pass the border every day and most of the drivers are still men. Getting more women behind the wheel is the next big challenge for Poland.

But Małaszewicze is leading the way, giving more women the chance to love the road as much as men.

Nato Kurshitashvili, Gender Specialist at the World Bank

« Gender-based barriers reduce the available talent pool that firms can tap into, and damage overall economies. According to the International Monetary Fund, many countries would gain from a 15% to 34% increase in GDP from closing gender gaps in female labour force participation and female entrepreneurship. »

Nato Kurshitashvili, Gender Specialist at the World Bank

Key figures

  • Distance from Geneva

    2742 km

  • Days to IRU World Congress, Muscat

    166

  • Countries visited so far

    6

Hear more about challenges and opportunities for the industry at the IRU World Congress

Warsaw > Malascewicze