Why would any woman chose to drive a truck for a living? Isn’t that like totally macho job? At the moment there are more than 200,000 female drivers, and the number will multiply over the years. What is attracting them?
First of all, wage is around 30% higher than average wage of the careers women usually choose. Furthermore, female truckers are getting more involved in other industry jobs like managing or recruiting.
There is much more to it than meets the eye and it could become trend in the industry. Let’s see what this means to women and companies and what experienced female drivers advice.
This is a man’s world … or is it?
Looking at the fact that female are like 6 percent of all U.S. truck drivers at the moment, one cannot be convinced in talks about the next big thing in trucking industry.
Still, knowing that just a five years ago the female truck drivers were just over 4 percents, will give you second thoughts.
“It’s definitely a man’s world still a little bit, but it is getting away from that, I’m amazed every time I go into a truck stop how many female drivers I’m seeing”
Tiffany Deering, military veteran and a truck driver.
In the end, it’s the work ethic that matters
“As a truck driver, you make the same amount of money as your male peers, because you either get paid by the mile or the load of the percentage. So gender is not an issue in pay in the truck industry for drivers.”
– Ellen Voie, chief executive, Women in Trucking Association
Female Truckers Health Problems
A good health is top priority for any truck driver. Just imagine how dangerous can it be if you hit the road after a bad sleep, that was caused by your poor health.
Having a proper health care is even more important for female drivers. The fact is that women do have different requirements regarding this issue. Both managers and female drivers should be aware of it and adapt to it.
National Center for Biotechnology Information reported an interesting research on this matter. The goal was identifying health conditions, health care access and driving environments of female drivers.
Results showed that 25% of the surveys had no insurance coverage. Reported health problems were sinus, back pain and hypertension.
They ignored symptoms, and almost half of female truck drivers said they hadn’t been satisfied with health care on the road.
Potential issue specific for female truck drivers is Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS). Behavioral and emotional changes can endanger your relationship with the others in trucking business, including managers, drivers and customers.
Except dealing with cycle related health issues, female truck drivers must plan ahead their hygiene needs. This means carrying hygiene items and getting informed about adequate truck stops.
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Advices for Women on the Road
Unfortunately, the reality is that female truck drivers can be guys target. Don’t think it’s just a women’s issue. It’s all part of the job. Men also have their safety concerns, and following tips are absolutely applicable for them.
- Always keep your rig doors locked, no matter if you are in or out of the truck.
- Not everybody have to know that you’re traveling alone
- Stay on the main roads and don’t use shortcuts
- Carry a mobile phone with you all the time
- Do not dress provocatively
- Avoid remote rest places, especially at night
- Pet is a great idea, for safety and loneliness
- Keep informed your family and friends about your movement all the time
Women In Trucking Association – WIT
This organization is doing a great job in promoting and inviting women to driving careers. They are highlighting that women can do all the jobs in industry including driving, selling, fixing or dispatching, and that the industry needs them.
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The goal is changing the image of a women in trucking. WIT is achieving that through organizing conferences, contributing relevant articles or showing in media. Shannon Smith, a member of WIT, featured in book Hidden America by J.M. Laska. Later on, Oprah Winfrey was telling a story about her.
You can check out here, how to get involved in WIT Association.
A Salute to Truckers and their Families by Vicki Scofield
The truckers think of family, as they drive along,
but they Know their job is needed to keep our nation’s economy strong.
It’s the working men and women who make our country great —
Let’s not forget the truckers as they haul that load of freight . . .
Without them we’d have empty shelves in our homes and stores,
They keep America working in every town from shore to shore.
Let’s also praise their families for their sacrifices, too,
For they stand behind the truckin’ man and woman with a love that’s strong and true.
If no one seems to appreciate all the miles that separate,
If you haven’t heard a “thank you” for that urgent load of freight,
Let me tell you, driver, you’re a hero ridin’ tall
As you navigate from coast to coast and bring goods to us all!
And for the families of the truckers — A sincere appreciation
For the sacrifices you have made as they roll across our nation!
What Female Drivers Means for Trucking Companies?
U.S is already facing truck drivers shortage, but the size of the problem is about to enlarge to a much more concerning proportion.
Self driving trucks are technology that could be the answer, but that’s still pretty uncertain foundation, and it won’t happened that soon.
So how can companies deal with this issue?
Under the circumstances more and more companies including Werner, Swift Transportation, Covenant Transportation and Schneider, are finding the solution in hiring rapidly growing number of female truck drivers.
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Attracting female drivers
Hiring female truck drivers can be a hard process, for the stereotypes must be broken first.
“There have been a lot of stereotypes over the years about the independent, male truck driver in a macho industry, a macho career. That doesn’t work in favor of attracting women to the industry. … It’s just the simple idea of us making it very, very clear that we want them”
Derek Leathers, president and chief operating officer of Werner
There are number of things that can attract female drivers such as company owned truck stop networks with showers.