Women make a difference within SPAR organisations

March 8, 2023 IN THE CATEGORY: People

Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of women within SPAR country organisations in all areas of our business including on the shop floor, at a senior level, and in logistics, an area where positions traditionally attracted more men. In recent years, the number of women working in logistics and leading positions in SPAR companies has grown consistently.

Female SPAR retailers receive prestigious awards

Women are essential in all areas of the SPAR business, including in the 13,600 SPAR stores operated worldwide. Every day, female SPAR retailers and their teams are successfully driving profitability and customer service, not only on the shop floor, but also in their communities. Today, we share the success story of two remarkable SPAR retailers Malene and Leslie.

SPAR Denmark retailer Malene Houni Hansen, winner of the prestigious FMI Store Manager Award in the international category in 2021, (run by Food Marketing Institute), in 2022 also won the Danish Retail Awards. Malene is a successful local retailer, a well-known member of the community, and a tutor for fellow SPAR retailers in Denmark. Her enthusiasm for grocery retailing is reflected by her team and the excellent service they provide.

SPAR UK retailer Leslie Francis, previously called out as an unsung hero in her community, has been recognised in the New Year Honours list with a British Empire Medal. The New Year Honours List, published by order of King Charles III, marks the incredible public service of individuals from across the United Kingdom. With her husband, Tim, Leslie runs a SPAR store that meets customers’ needs and creates employment opportunities.

Increasing number of women in executive positions

The number of women in management positions is increasing. One example is SPAR Austria where the percentage of female executives in 2021 was 64% compared to 36% of male executives. At SPAR UK partner A.F. Blakemore, the percentage of female executives increased by 5% in the period January 2019 to January 2023.

Examples of leading women in SPAR organisations are Carol Welch, CEO of SPAR UK regional operator A.F. Blakemore, Carina Pollhammer, Managing Director of SPAR Austria’s regional office Vorarlberg, Patricia Sepetavc, Managing Director of SPAR Austria’s regional office Salzburg & Tyrol, Michaela Kaspar, Deputy Managing Director INTERSPAR Austria and Thuli Tabudi, HR Executive at SPAR South Africa, just to mention a few.

Women in logistics

Transport and logistics are areas where women traditionally have been underrepresented. According to a publication shared by the World Economic Forum on 6 February 2023, “on average, women make up only 23% of employees in the transport, storage, and communication sector across the Europe and Central Asia region—with many engaged in low-paying jobs.”

The trend shows more and more companies are attracting female talent in logistics and supply chain. As a woman working in logistics, Tara Philpott, Stock Control Manager at SPAR UK partner A.F. Blakemore, said: “The gender divide is starting to decrease and the split between both male and female is heading in a direction which is seeing the industry welcoming more females.”

A.F. Blakemore is celebrating International Women’s Day 2023 by launching its first annual ‘Women in Blakemore’ Recognition Award. This award reflects the company’s focus on gender inclusivity, not only in logistics, but in all business areas.

Joanne Mellon, Logistics Director of BWG Foods commented about women working in this area: “While logistics has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, BWG Foods has encouraged me to look beyond legacy stereotypes that might exist to ensure that I pursue my professional ambitions to the fullest. My positive experience in BWG Foods is not unique to me and I am enormously proud to be a part of a culture and value system that rewards ambition and hard work, regardless of gender or any other personal characteristic, with many of my female peers across the business excelling and breaking new ground within their own fields thanks to the unwavering support of the wider business.”

Sources: SPAR Austria, SPAR UK, SPAR Ireland, SPAR Denmark, World Economic Forum

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