The month of Pride has almost come to an end, but the commitment to normalise LGBTQ rights should continue without limiting it to just a bare minimum of thirty days. As we bid adieu to the month of pride, let us etch the views and thoughts of Sohini Nath, a proud member of the LGBTQ family who works in the E-commerce segment of Mahindra Logistics, Dankuni, West Bengal, on the sands of time of 2021.
Why is gender inclusivity and diversity important in a predominantly male-driven domain like logistics?
The Logistics sector used to be a male-driven sector but it’s changing now. This is my first job in a logistics company and my experience has been nothing but delightful. I have faced more challenges in the outside world than working at Mahindra Logistics. After I started working here, my confidence levels have gone up significantly. I can walk proudly here since I don’t see people staring at me or looking at me like I don’t belong here.
When I joined MLL, I was a little skeptical on how I will manage my work, how will I speak to people, but slowly other employees started coming to me and they made me feel comfortable. Within no time, I became a part of this organization and for that I will be forever grateful. I was pleasantly surprised to see that people were treating me with utmost respect and equality.I would urge more and more companies to do what MLL is doing by hiring people from the LGBTQ community. By hiring us, you are not just giving us jobs, but also helping us gain confidence and a platform to stand up on our own feet and face the world with strength and contentment.
How can we encourage more members of the LGBTQ+ community to participate in the logistics and supply chain domain?
Social media and press coverage are some of the best ways one could think of. I want my story to be heard and I want more people to come out of their shell and embrace what they are. As society is becoming more open to diversity and inclusion, we must encourage those who are scared to disclose their identities. With more acceptance, we will able to empower more people like me. I want them to get inspired from my story and realize that with the right opportunities, people like us also can lead a happy and respectful life.
Have you ever faced discrimination at work on account of your gender? How did you react to it?
Not discrimination particularly, but yes, I did feel shy and uncomfortable about being different initially. Before my transition, I did feel awkward using men’s washrooms at work. But I was lucky that I found good superiors who understood my discomfort and arranged for me to visit a gender-neutral washroom.
At Mahindra Logistics, I have never faced any sort of discrimination I, infact, feel very welcomed here. My colleagues are very supportive and friendly. The working atmosphere is very healthy here. There are good facilities here. I feel safe and happy at MLL.
What role has social media played in sensitising people about the challenges that you face and in encouraging more people to come forward and don their supply chain hats?
I started using social media actively after my transition to a woman in 2019. I was overjoyed with the positive response I received. I believe that today, social media has managed to create some awareness about the plight of transgenders and the need to be respectful and caring towards people from all races, backgrounds and genders.
For me personally, social media has helped me to come out of my shell and accept myself. It has helped me face the world with confidence. I believe that Mahindra Logistics also promotes LGBTQ diversity and inclusion actively on social media. I am happy that companies like MLL are playing an important role in changing the mindset of the people in our country.
I want to take this opportunity to narrate an incident which touched my heart. On International Women’s Day, Mahindra Logistics wished me ‘Happy Women’s Day’ and included me in their women’s day celebrations and even gave me a women’s day gift! It was very thoughtful of them to make me feel special on that day! I can never forget that!
What role can we all play(the government, the industry and the people) in ensuring and promoting gender equality in the logistics and supply chain sector?
It will take some time to bring about a change but if this could happen for me then this can happen for every transgender alive. I have been amongst the lucky ones to have gotten an opportunity to work with Mahindra Logistics and in such a positive environment where we don’t have to hide our identities in order to be liked by our colleagues.
Society has to undergo massive shift in perception for all transgenders to benefit, the way I have benefited. I am sure if society unitedly comes together and accepts us as human beings, then all my peers from the LGBTQ community can also live with their heads held high. At the end of the day, we need dedication and hard work to work in thelogistics industry or any industry for that matter. Just like any male or female, we also do the hard work with utmost respect and dedication for our jobs. It’s time that we should be given equal opportunities basis the work we do and rather the way we look. My gratitude to companies like Mahindra Logistics who are willing to provide us equal opportunities. I see a lot of my colleagues who are persons with disabilities and they too get the desired help and opportunities. It’s a ray of hope for all the people like us to be able to stand tall and work towards our ambitions.
What changes do you anticipate in the coming years in the logistics and warehousing sector in the context of gender inclusivity?
We often observe that some incredible talent remains excluded from joining an organization because of a perceived lack of diversity and inclusion. Perception is reality and it should be every organization’s responsibility to create a workplace where they provide the best possible opportunity for everyone to thrive and strive.
“In the coming years, I am hopeful to see equal hiring of all the genders without discrimination. I look forward to more and more companies hiring employees basis their talent and not their gender. I am hopeful that, with this pace, we will be able to achieve equality in the coming years.”