This IWD, meet Brittany - Zedify Manchester's Assistant Manager | Zedify
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calendarMarch 8th, 2024
personBex Young
clock7 minute read

When it comes to International Womens Day, we know it’s not enough for businesses to just ‘celebrate’ the women in their teams.

To achieve equity in the workplace, we all need to be attracting and retaining amazing female talent, and ensuring barriers to progression are torn down wherever possible.

It’s not always easy to do this. Zedify is a business built on three distinct areas with inherent societal barriers to entry for women – cycling, logistics and technology. There’s a lot of prejudice around who ‘should’ work in a logistics environment and similarly, plenty of myths around cargo bikes and what it’s like to handle them. This often leaves us with a very small pool of women to recruit from and in turn, difficulties in progressing women through the ranks.

So – we caught up with our incredible Manchester Assistant Manager, Brittany Edgen, on what it’s like to be a woman in cycle logistics – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Bex: When you first got into being a rider, did you find that process quite straightforward? Did you have any reservations about it?

Brittany: Well, I wasn’t sure if I was going to get accepted – because I’m a female.

I had applied to delivery roles before, and they just never got back to me, but you see men everywhere… And then when I did join the industry (in my previous role), I was the only female there for a while. But to be honest, all of my life, though, my teachers did just always push all subjects for me. I studied engineering and that’s also a male-dominated industry, and my teachers just encouraged it.

So I think maybe quite a lot of people might not want to go in that direction just based off of the fact that you think it’s all going to be male-dominated, but I don’t mind it; I’m just used to it. Initially, I thought maybe there might be prejudice, not necessarily from management, but I was worried maybe other riders might have been a bit like – “what’s the girl doing here? She’s out riding in the rain and stuff!” But no – management were lovely and the riders, after they got to know me and saw how good and fast I was on the bike, they were like, ‘Yeah, Brit!’ And I was like, That’s right. Don’t doubt me!

Bex: Did you feel like you had to prove yourself a bit more than you would have if you were a man?

Brit: Yes. I can’t explain it, but yes. It can feel a bit like – ‘Yeah, you’re a woman, have the smaller route; or you’re not going to be able to do that, or you need help lifting this.’ And it’s like, ‘I’ve got this. I have this pallet. I can pack these boxes. It’s okay.’ I did, yeah. It didn’t get to me, but I felt I had to prove myself for sure.

Bex: And then now at Zedify – did you find the training here ok? Was it quite an easy switch over for you?

Brit: God yeah! Dan [Manchester manager] literally just popped me on a trike and was like, I can just tell you’re good!’ in the first 30 seconds. And then he just sent me out on a route straight away. He just trusted me.

Bex: And now you’re an Assistant Manager; within the space of just a few months with us. How did you progress into more of a leadership position – how did that conversation come about?

Brit: In my previous courier role, I’d progressed already. I don’t know if it was more trying to prove myself… but I was very keen to do more work, get involved more, and just do my best.

And then they noticed that I was doing really well, delivering always 100 % of my parcels and getting a very high DPH. And then they started to let me do the depot opens, and route planning, and things like that. So I was already – in their eyes – the next supervisor. And then the job ended, so I transitioned over to Zedify and then I said to Dan – ‘Any a chance of progression, I’m there, I’m ready. Anything, lead rider or management, please consider me.’ And he was like, ‘Okay, brilliant!’

Bex: Brilliant. Big up Dan! What would you say, what kind of person do you need to be to be a rider, and then go on to succeed and progress as you have?

Brit: I think there’s just a group of people that become riders. Everyone is active; everyone’s into indoor rock climbing and cycling. And you’ve got to be able to stand all types of weather and be somewhat resilient.

Bex: As a woman – what would you say is the best part of the job? And what would you say is the worst part of the job?

Brit: The best part of the job? I don’t know. I guess being able to get involved more with the manual side of things and actually leading. And I like being listened to and respected; because they have to if I’m in a leadership role!

I used to work at Ralph Lauren, and I really wanted to work in the warehouse. I really just wanted to work in the warehouse, handling the boxes, I didn’t want to be on the shopfloor with customers. And because I had my long curly hair and I was young and pretty, they ignored me and just put me on the shop floor. I hated it. And I told them – I just want to work in the warehouse.

So it’s nice that I’m able to just now work in the warehouse and do what I want to do, without someone making the decision for me based on my gender or appearance.

Bex: Do you know many other women in cycle logistics industry or delivery industry? Or would you say you’re an outlier amongst people that you know?

Brit: For sure. I mean, I was in town and there was a delivery van and there was a woman driving it and delivering… And I thought, ‘wow’! And then I thought, ‘have I actually ever seen a female delivery person?’

Bex: Do you ever have any safety concerns when you’re doing this job?

Brit: There was a weird period I went through and I was just thinking – who am I delivering to?

Bex: That’s very valid – and I wonder, would a man be thinking about that? It’s perhaps that extra level of worry that you have as a woman out in the world.

What do you think is that prevents women from applying for roles at Zedify?

Brit: Representation! If I saw a poster of a woman out cycling, I’d be like – that’s cool, I can do it too. There’s a couple of other girls in my team and I do find that they come to me more; it’s easier for them. I think it’s that level of understanding.

Bex: Does IWD mean anything to you and if it does, what does it mean?

Brit: It’s nice to be recognised, I think. The world is very male dominated. All my life, everything I’ve pursued has been male-dominated, at school or in the working world.

I do feel like Manchester is ahead in general, and the younger generation is more aware of the inequalities we face as women. Steve [Senior Zedify cargo bike rider] was talking to me about the fact that things are just designed for men and it was good to have that conversation with him – it’s true.

But… I don’t know if I actively do anything for International Womens Day.

Bex: You’re a woman in logistics everyday – that is enough in and of itself.

Thanks for your interest in using Zedify. At the moment, we‘re just for businesses and can’t deliver one-off parcels for individuals. Sorry about that.

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