How Female Truck Drivers Are Changing the Trucking Industry
Changes in Trucking Industry Culture
The trucking industry's culture towards female truck drivers has significantly shifted in recent years. It is no longer uncommon for women truck drivers to succeed in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Women truckers are now seen much more as equals to their male counterparts and have even broken through barriers that were once deemed impossible. Female truck drivers are changing the industry by putting their voices and stories into the conversation. Women have been a part of the trucking industry for decades but were usually overlooked and undervalued. Women drivers were stigmatized as bad luck for a truck because the popular opinion was that their presence would lead to accidents, but this has been demystified entirely. Despite much initial pushback, female drivers proudly make strides today in an industry that historically relied on a male workforce. Female truck drivers bring a fresh and unique perspective to the industry, which benefits both employers and the trucking industry's future.
The trucking industry is beginning to open its doors to women over the past decade, slowly changing how this industry is viewed. Truck drivers were once stereotyped as tough men who are tough enough to handle the long hours, physical labor, and harsh realities of the trucking jobs. That's changed with the rise of women in this field. The stereotype changes when women show they're just as capable of handling truck driving as their male counterparts. Statistics show that since they began to hire female drivers, they have seen an increase in cdl a trucking jobs applications from young women. Young girls are now developing aspirations for this type of career, rather than feeling like it's an occupation for men alone.
Why the Trucking Industry Needs More Women
Though truck driving has long been a male-dominated industry, with many rules and regulations being put in place, it is increasingly difficult for companies to find drivers. Many can't remember a time when there was no driver shortage in the trucking industry. It's no secret that trucking companies have to employ new recruitment tactics to keep up with this shortage while also focusing on driver retention to keep their drivers happy. The trucking industry is inclusive to anyone interested in trucking life after receiving their CDL. Until technology allows for a new and more efficient method of transporting the goods that our economy uses daily, driving a truck will remain an essential career path with well-paying benefits. Due to the driver shortage, the trucking industry has seen a surge of fresh faces due to the need to fill this shortage, emphasizing the women who get behind the wheel.
Women in Trucking Statistics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 3 million truck drivers in America. Of these, only 10% happen to be women - a large discrepancy from the 51% of women working in the civilian workforce. With numbers on the rise each year, more than 300,000 female truck drivers are now in the United States alone. This large sum only attributes to 10% of the driver workforce, which shows us that there is still a need for more women drivers to enter trucking careers. Though the need for women drivers behind the wheel is evident, we can look at the significant spike in growth in recent years, equalling roughly 30%, which continues to grow at an increasing rate each year.
Why are Women becoming Truck Drivers?
Today, women are in all areas of the trucking industry, from CEOs to accounting, dispatching, recruiting, payroll, marketing, and truck driving. With the rise of women in management positions in the United States, many women have turned to drive a truck to work for themselves while being their own boss. There are a few reasons behind the trend. Some female drivers feel they can earn more money than in other professions. Others want a work environment where merits other than appearance do not cause discrimination on the job. Even some love a challenge and achieving goals that were told were impossible for women.
Though women are still a minority in the trucking industry, it is by no means due to a lack of interest. As it turns out, many female truck drivers aim to make their mark on the field. For example, one woman driving trucks for over 40 years says she decided to become a truck driver because her father was a long-haul driver. She wanted to be like him. In this example, we can observe that the gender gap is slowly closing in transportation. Thankfully, the surge in female drivers couldn't come at a better time.
Today's Challenges for Women Truck Drivers
Though women in trucking are seeing progress each day, it comes with unique issues the industry's culture will need to address as we move forward. Historically, women in the United States have not been allowed to drive trucks because they were seen as too "fragile" and were considered a liability. But there were periods when it was socially acceptable for women to drive a large truck, such as times of war when the men were away. This perspective has changed in recent years, and in recent decades, it has become a norm for women in the U.S. to become truck drivers. Women entering the occupation face many new obstacles as we blaze new cultural and societal trails, ranging from a lack of female mentors and volunteers for the more technical aspects of the cdl a drivers jobs to more subtle gender biases that make it hard for them to get ahead.
This underrepresentation is due to several factors mentioned below:
- Lack of confidence and training among women
- The need for social circles for women drivers to learn and grow
- More restrictive hours and routes for female drivers
- Policies and procedures that discriminate against women on the job
Gender diversity in the trucking industry does not become just a matter of acceptance and inclusion for women. Still, fundamental changes will need to be made to progress forward. Originally, trucks were designed and built to house a large man. This would create issues for shorter people and women, specifically not reaching the pedals. These days, companies that make our beautiful trucks consider the gender diversification that the trucking industry is seeing. This is a small example of the changes we should expect to help bring about if we fully embrace women and their role in the trucking industry's future.
The trucking industry is open to solving the issues women face today in trucking. A worthy mention is team driving, which is becoming one of trucking's fastest-growing sectors. Team driving can be a significant first step for beginner drivers because it helps resolve many of the problems that female drivers experience. Many women enter the industry as team drivers, driving alongside a spouse or significant other. Traveling with someone else is more social, less isolating, can make some women feel safer, and accelerates learning for novices.
Despite the challenges women face today, the industry has shown it can progress in many areas, including supporting a larger workforce of women drivers. We can see from this success and the new perspectives women bring into the field that the future for women in trucking is brighter than imagined and coming sooner than expected.
Women's Success in Truck Driving
However, with changes in the industry and new generations stepping into power, the dynamic is changing fast. In America, female drivers are growing by 10% every year, about twice as fast as men in the same industry. It's inspirational to see that more people are challenging gender stereotypes and opening up new opportunities for everyone.
Women bring fresh talents, insights, and perspectives into the trucking industry. Female truck drivers help change the trucking industry because they provide a different viewpoint and approach to work, which men might not consider. Women have a unique set of skills that make them strong candidates for the truck driving jobs. They are emotionally intelligent, follow directions well, process information faster than men, tend to be more detail-oriented, and excel at multitasking. A case could even be made for women's natural tendency towards empathy vs. a man's more logical approach to thinking. For example, women will think about another driver on the road regarding that they could be someone transporting their children, or they could be someone's mother, father, sister, or brother. It's not that men are unempathetic, but this tendency for women sheds light on one example where a women's view brings a fresh perspective into the trucking industry. In this example, this perspective will affect the trucking industry's safety over the years as cultural changes, from women filling more seats in trucks and management positions, become more evident.
For women to be open to the idea of making a living in trucking, the information given to women drivers entering into trucking as a career path must be accurate so they know what to expect instead of being blindsided. When incorrect information and rhetoric surround women's expectations of driving a truck, it prevents many from taking the first step of becoming a truck driver: initially being open to the idea that they could do it! When it rings throughout our culture that driving a truck is not a gender-specific occupation, the trucking industry will be more vibrant with personality and new talent as women join the ranks of a noble and essential career path.
Fortunately, women drivers worldwide share their stories and experiences through word of mouth and online storytelling. This is helping the cause for women to learn the truth about becoming a truck driver and helps remove false information passed around, which serves no merit. For example, inaccurate information like women cannot fulfill certain aspects like long hours, hard labor, and balancing life and work.
Once women are behind the wheel, to support them, we shouldn't downplay or sugarcoat the facts regarding the long hours, time spent away from friends and family, and the gender-specific issues that women experience within today's growing trucking industry, such as discrimination. Suppose we ignore gender bias within the industry. In that case, progress is delayed towards a fair and inclusive industry for all, which would aid the trucking industry's need to fill its never-ending driver shortage. It's essential to tell the truth because it saves us our most valuable resource: time. By being honest with women interested in trucking about what they can expect, we can better prepare them for long-term success.
Finding a Truck Driver Job as a Female Driver
Though we've learned the rapid growth of women drivers in the trucking industry is something to celebrate, we must understand that not all trucking companies are moving at the same speed regarding progress. For this reason, it's essential to do your research when applying for companies to work with. Take note of how many female drivers are in the company's fleet. What is the company's attitude towards female drivers and their capabilities compared to men in trucking? Working for a company supporting women and their choice of career path in trucking will make a world of difference when women enter into trucking, increasing the longevity of a female driver's trucking career. While some companies are more accepting and supportive than others, smaller companies and those without a clear vision of the industry's future will continue in the old way of stigmatizing and permitting unconscious bias. At MigWay, we are proud to say our female drivers have been some of the best we've worked with. They have made special appearances in blog posts and YouTube videos, telling their stories in trucking and with MigWay.
Women are forging their way into the trucking industry at an unprecedented rate. Women are standing up, getting behind the wheel, and taking over the trucking industry with their strength, resilience, and determination to overcome a history of bias. They are breaking gender barriers in an industry that has never had any before. More and more female truck drivers are hitting the road, and they're (finally) changing the face of this traditionally male-dominated field.
If you're on the hunt to work with a company that allows its employees to flourish by creating a work environment where we can all succeed, don't hesitate to reach out to us via our form on site and find best Charlotte driving jobs.
If you look back on the story of trucking, you will find history. If you look forward to the trucking industry's future, you will discover her-story!