Speech by Hon. Chairperson of WiLAT China at the 4th WiLAT China Conference in Tangshan, 14 Sep 2020
Dear members of WiLAT, good evening, my greetings to you and I wish all of us a healthy year ahead.
Our last year meeting was held in Shijiazhuang in October 2019, but with difficulties in travelling, we are now meeting online
Around the world, 2020 has emerged as one of the most challenging years in many of our lifetimes. For months, we confine ourselves to our homes with minimal social contact. As societies reopen, it is apparent to us that the world in January is not the same as today. No doubt, the pandemic has created a great impact on logistics and supply chain. Our priority is to maintain the flow of essential goods such as medical supplies and food but at the same time looking after the health of our workers by providing them with essential personal protection equipment. This means all sectors have to work closely together.
Between March and June this year, WiLAT conducted 8 chat series on COVID-19 covering both the immediate challenges and what can be done post COVID-19. The topics include: COVID-19 Impact on Human Behavior and Society, Reopening of Airports and Ports, Logistics and Transportation etc.
We have taken notes on these topics and they are summarized in our WiLAT website https://www.wilat.org/wilat-chat.
What will our future economy look like? We should develop an inclusive post COVID-19 recovery plan. When economy is not performing, women tends to be vulnerable, suffer from disproportionate job losses and are underrepresented. As a professional organisation, I strongly urge our female leaders to support young women and encourage them to take action to upgrade their skills, to jump on new learning opportunities now and to bring together best practices that can save business. Our CILT President Dato Radzek Malek spoke about the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the move towards a more digital economy. We will advocate for policy initiatives that will advance the skills of women and to enable them to take a strong role in the changed economy.
Women is now presented with an unique opportunity to advance themselves. Remote working has proven to be very feasible over the past months and with this flexibility, the economic strength of women at home could be released and could become an active part of the global workforce. WiLAT has provided a platform for us to take concerted efforts to close the gender gap and let employers to communicate with their female employees. We believe in our strengths to make a difference.
Earlier you have heard Ms. Gayani de Alwis spoke about her plans for WiLAT as our new global chairperson. My transition to her in July this year was smooth as Gayani has been with WiLAT for many years serving as Global Vice Chairperson. I am also honoured that I was made the Honorary Chairperson of WiLAT China. I will continue to contribute to WiLAT activities. With efforts made by WiLATs in different places, WiLAT has become well known and is sought after for advice. Our mission to aid the career development of female in the transport, logistics and supply chain sector and to create a better future for all. We look to the future with confidence that women’s influence in the changing economic situation will be even stronger.
Finally may I congratulate Li Tong for organizing our annual event and for the support given by Ensen and CILT China to make this possible. I look forward to meeting up soon.