Recently, women (and men) around the world, gathered to celebrate International Women’s Day. The theme this year was #BalanceforBetter, promoting the idea that a “balanced world is a better world.” It was meant to promote critical thinking around what we can all do to contribute to a more gender-balanced world. It got us thinking about the trucking industry, long assumed to be a world dominated by men but which is, and should be, changing. We went looking for some examples of women in trucking and the good news is, they weren’t hard to find. Today, we’ll share some of the news stories about women in trucking and also encourage our industry partners to work alongside companies like ours to actively recruit, hire and promote the best drivers for the job – regardless of gender!
Have a look around the web and you’ll find examples abound of successful women drivers, owner-operators and transportation companies run by women. That said, organizations like Women in Trucking, a non-profit organization, exist specifically with a “mission to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the industry.” Fostering gender diversity in trucking is their focus and their website highlights a number of successful women in trucking. However, that specific organizations exist to promote and support the idea of women in trucking (while good) speaks volumes about the fact that we still have a long way to go. Check them out at https://wt.memberclicks.net
What IS great for us to see is that for some progressive and forward-thinking companies in the industry, “women in trucking” is in fact “old news.” At one signature event in the US, five women were celebrated for having 40 or more years behind the wheel! That means trailblazers do exist. Coming soon will be the 10th Annual “Salute to Women Behind the Wheel” taking place this year, in the US, on March 30th.In 2018, Canada held it’s 3rd annual Women Behind the Wheel event with a huge number of attendees. The Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada is another non profit that aims “to provide a platform and open environment for women across the Transportation industry to come together….share ideas and help promote our industry to future generations as a viable career option.” It’s great to see that these organizations exist to support and encourage the role of women in trucking. If you want to learn more about them, you can visit their website at www.womenstruckingfederationofcanada.net. We found a few examples in Europe too and we tweeted recently about Barbara “Babs” Cheetham, living and until recently, working in England. She was one of only three female “lorry” (trucks) drivers when she started in 1979 and just recently retired after a very long and successful 40-year career in trucking. It’s time to help young women realize that a career in trucking is possible, is rewarding and can be awesome.
Women aren’t just driving trucks either. They are owners and/or high ranking senior professionals in trucking firms both large and small. This is good news but statistics tell us there are not nearly enough to make a difference yet in terms of some of the hiring, training and recruitment practices in the industry – often the first barrier women face. We need to do a better job says Ellen Voie, Founder of Women in Trucking. In an article she wrote in 2016, she states we know “Women can drive trucks just as well as men, and there are all sorts of insurance industry data that show that females, especially compared with young men, are generally safer drivers. At the very least, we know that accidents involving women typically occur at slower speeds, which results in less damage to the equipment and fewer fatalities.” But issues remain she says, about how to actively recruit and train women in a male-dominated environment. Examples abound of driver training opportunities, for example, that do not provide separate sleeping and shower facilities for women while in training. We are making progress, but there’s still work to be done for sure. https://www.trucks.com/2016/07/21/truck-drivers-mostly-male/
Finally, another website work checking out is Fast Company – a website in the US – which recently promoted that despite the fact current stats suggest 92% of truckers are men, some women are changing the face of the industry. You can read that story at:https://www.fastcompany.com/90317416/92-of-truckers-are-men-these-women-want-to-change-that?hss_channel=tw-15515098
#BalanceforBetter. Think about what role we can all play in fostering a work environment that works well for women. Driving is a rewarding career and ideally suited to some personalities, regardless of gender. We can do better. Share your good news stories with our team here at Service Pro Truck Lines – the Future of Trucking!