In this special series, we spotlight some of the women leaders of our industry, starting with Iro Doumani, General Manager of IRU member the Hellenic Federation of Road Transport (OFAE), and Vice President of IRU’s Goods Transport Council.
How would you describe yourself?
A road transport professional and a proud mother of two.
I love digitalisation, transport, logistics and people, especially when they all come together.
I have a passion for digital transformation as well as driving sustainability and gender diversity in our industry.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in your career?
Staying confident in my ability to strike a healthy balance between my family and career.
To “make peace” between my different roles, and to eventually accept the fact that I can be the same person at work and in my personal life.
How did you overcome them?
Determination, prioritisation, and hard work! When it comes to my personal life, I’ve learned to focus on quality instead of quantity.
Doing a job that I love and having my family’s full support have helped me to produce the best results possible.
What has been your experience as a female leader at OFAE?
I feel lucky to work for an organisation that supports my motivation to lead and at the same time recognises and encourages my efforts.
It has been about building a team in which each person is given equal opportunity to contribute at every level of the organisation.
Any recommendations to women who wish to grow professionally?
To choose their own path and stay authentic.
To believe in their potential, to work hard, and to see an opportunity in every challenge they face.
To invest in healthy relationships and a balanced life.
Climbing up the stairway to success can get tough. You will need supportive and understanding people around you.
What do women bring to road transport?
A dynamic workforce, as well as different perspectives. I believe in diversity, especially in times of continuous change.
We need more women in road transport to further promote environmental, social, and corporate governance models and better meet the needs of society.
How can the industry attract more women truck drivers?
Spread the word. Let everybody know that the industry wants to hire female drivers. Not just as a solution to driver shortages, but as equally valued and important workers as all drivers in the industry, women and men.
We should also educate all stakeholders, from top-level management all the way down, to adopt a long-term gender equality strategy in road transport.
Perhaps most importantly, we need to raise working conditions for both male and female drivers. The severe lack of safe and secure parking areas, including adequate sanitation facilities, is a huge impediment to our sector’s ability to attract more women drivers.
With only 300,000 truck parking spaces currently available in the EU, there is a significant shortfall of 100,000 spaces to meet total demand.
Moreover, only 7,000 places, less than 3% of existing parking places in the EU, are in areas certified to be safe and secure.
As a sector, it’s challenging to address the chronic shortage of drivers without tackling these conditions.
OFAE, IRU member since 1964, is headquartered in Athens, with a branch office in Thessaloniki. It represents road freight transport operators (of all categories, international, special, national-international), as well as road passenger transport operators using public service touring coaches.