Fearless Women Truck Drivers Shattering Stereotypes In Our World
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Are women breaking into previously male-dominated industries?
They sure are, and you may be surprised at what they’ve already achieved in the once-masculine world of trucking and fleets. With a shift taking place,more women are discoveringhow to become valued members of this male-dominated industry.
We’ve got all the details on how women managed to break the mould, the organisations created to support women in trucking, and what you should know if you’re interested in joining this female-growing industry.
In this article, you will:
Learn more about female representation in trucking
Find out about female-focused support organisations
Discover why women should join the trucking industry
See how Cartrack helps you create the ideal fleet business for all genders
Women’s growing representation in the fleet industry
Gender perception has contributed to how different industries are viewed and influenced the career paths of both sexes. Women entering the trucking industry is a unique example of piercing a male-dominated environment that can still seem impenetrable today.
Historically, societal roles were primarily based on gender: domesticated and caring roles like nursing and childcare were perceived as more female, upholding feminine and maternal stereotypes. Society's perception of gender also kept women from working in more masculine industries like mechanics, construction, and modern-day fleet-based jobs like trucking.
However, this did not stop women from breaking barriers and entering male-dominated workplaces with vigour. Today, companies worldwide are also actively contributing to diversification in male-dominated industries to give women the representation and inclusion they deserve.
The history of women in trucking
As testosterone-fuelled as the trucking industry has been throughout history, women persevered and cracked it through a good cause.
The journey began during World War II in the US, where women stepped up to fill men’s jobs who were at war, one of those jobs being trucking. In 1918, Luella Bates pioneered the trucking industry as the first female truck diver and worked for Four Wheel Drive Auto Co during the war.
After Bates’ trailblazing entry, Lillie Elizabeth Drennan became the first licenced US truck driver and trucking firm owner in 1929. In 1944, Dusty Row became the first female truck driver to complete a 2 237km route with a fully-loaded truck.
These ladies ultimately initiated a shifting perspective of women in trucking, and since then, women have made serious strides in the fleet industry as a whole.
According to a survey conducted by the National Transport Institute (NTI), the average percentage of female over-the-road (OTR) drivers increased from 7.13% in 2017 to 7.89% in 2018.
A survey conducted byFrightwaves further shows that women now make up over 10% of OTR drivers, an increase from the 2018 survey. Recently, the percentage of female truck drivers has risen close to an increase of 30% in a period of a year (2018 to 2019).
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities industry was the second largest employer of women in 2017, after manufacturing. Of the 7.7 million workers in the US Transportation and Utilities sector, women constituted 22.6%. There are 24.8% of women represented in the industry in 2021.
Here’s why women should get into trucking
Calling all women with a deep desire to drive a heavy-duty powerhouse or even to own their fleet. With things looking up for women in the fleet industry, there’s no time to consider joining this flourishing industry like the present.
While there’s still work needed in terms of representation, inclusion, and gender equality in the industry, women today are more empowered than ever with resources and opportunities through social media, organisations, and communities that share support, guidance, and valuable information. Here’s why the fleet and trucking industries need more women:
Equal pay: The trucking industry offers fair and equal pay, with no known wage gap between men and women.
High demand: There is an increased demand for truck drivers, creating more opportunities for women to enter the industry.
Career stability: Women who remain with trucking companies for long periods tend to experience a sense of stability in their careers and their lives.
Safety and cautiousness: With women often being less distracted and more safety-conscious, they become good drivers who prioritise good driving.
While the profession can be demanding, it’s also rewarding and offers valuable job security and financial freedom for women across the world.
Influential women in trucking
There’s no better way to measure the growth of women in trucking than looking at what some of the most successful women have achieved and how these achievements are paving the way for other aspiring female truckers and women in the fleet industry. Here are some of the most influential women in trucking today and how their achievements empower other women to follow in their footsteps.
Siphokazi Matsha is the founder and chief executive of GoGirl Logistics, a South African, 100% black, female-owned logistics and courier company. Matsha aims to empower women in the fleet and transport sectors through hiring, quality training, and leadership. Growing up in Mdatsane in the Eastern Cape, Matsha is no stranger to the daily struggles women face, which is her primary source of inspiration for creating new opportunities for women in South Africa.
Trina Norman was named 2022’s Most Influential Woman in Trucking by US organisation Women in Trucking. Working as a feeder operations manager for UPS for the past three decades, Norman is praised as a woman with an admirable work ethic and an exceptional leader and mentor in her field. Norman’s mission is to recruit, mentor, and empower women to join the remarkable women behind the wheels at UPS in Southern California.
Felicia Marfo is an African trailblazer and the brains behind Ladybird, Ghana’s first female-only logistics firm. Marfo further empowered her female employees by training them to become globally-certified truck drivers, contributing to narrowing the gender gap in the Ghanaian logistics and fleet industry. She is determined to help women empower themselves with the belief that when women work, economies experience growth.
Female-friendly supporting organisations across the world
With forward-thinking women aiming to offer empowerment as leaders in the industry, other avenues of support present a range of organisations designed to support women in the trucking industry. Here are a few:
AWISCA, or Women In Supply Chain, is all about boosting and revolutionising supply chain skills in Southern Africa. They team up with big companies, the government, universities, and the whole industry to make it happen. Their main job is to fix any gaps in the supply chain's abilities and capacity and develop smart solutions for these challenges.
Women in Trucking: The Women In Trucking Foundation is a non-profit organisation that's all about supporting ambitious students, drivers, and professionals in the trucking industry who want to level up their skills through classroom and vocational training. They're a community of corporations, foundations, and individuals who truly value professional growth in trucking and are dedicated to its success.
Iron Women Southern Africa: Iron Women is a badass truck driving school exclusively for women, supported by Volvo Group Southern Africa. Their mission is to boost the skills of professional drivers and make our roads safer. Graduates become top-notch drivers, making their future employers' fleets more productive, safe, and efficient.
How to make it: The top 5 tips for aspiring female truckers
Being a minority group in a booming industry can be challenging, but that just makes it all the more exciting to start destroying that glass ceiling. Here are five tips to help female truckers overcome all obstacles and reach new heights.
Find a school or training program
The first thing you’ll need to get is a valid truck driving license and applicable training. Organisations like Iron Women are a great example of a female-focused group that offers training designed to give women a boost in the competitive trucking industry. After finding a team that appeals to you, you can add Cartrack’s fleet management technology to support you all the way to the top.
Apply for grants and scholarships for a financial boost
Many women depend on scholarships to get the education they need for a successful career, so don’t let a shortage of funds stop you. Be on the lookout for grants and scholarships through female trucking organisations, in your private capacity, or internal funding and grants within the school or program of your choice.
Become part of a community With so many organisations ready to support you, you never have to face a challenge alone. Become part of a group and get to know like-minded women who are just as determined to be successful in a man’s world and share valuable experiences.
Choose a company that prioritises diversity and inclusion
With so many companies prioritising diversity in the workplace nowadays, this shouldn’t be much of a problem, even in a predominantly male-dominated industry like trucking. Working at a company that supports equal opportunities gives women the chance to advance in their careers with equal pay and benefits.
How you can diversify your fleet with Cartrack
Diversifying your fleet means having a range of age, ethnicity, gender, and other differences within your workforce.
Today, trucking companies are shifting their approach to match the constant diversification of the workforce. Adding a female touch to your fleet can bring a fresh perspective to how companies successfully operate and engage with clients. Additionally, women can close the truck driver shortage and contribute to company success by being part of increased productivity.
Companies need to offer a favourable working environment to attract more women. Since truck driving is male-dominated, some conditions may not be favourable for female workers.
Suitably, technology can be used to fuel positive changes and progress in diversifying today’s trucking industry by fostering better working conditions for women.
Here’s how some of Cartrack’s fleet management software solutions can help you build a strong, diverse, safe and successful fleet for all genders:
Delivery app: Simplify your deliveries and keep your clients happy with prompt and efficient service. Cartrack’s delivery app automates the entire delivery process and related admin, helping you maintain full visibility of the entire process as well as full control over workflow management from start to end.
Route optimisation: Cartrack’s Delivery app has a route optimisation feature that automatically analyses distance and travel time, offering drivers shorter and quicker route options without traffic or road deviations, helping them complete jobs faster, with less frustration and fuel usage.
MiFleet: Accurately identify all areas where you can cut fleet-related costs with Cartrack’s MiFleet cost management software. From timely maintenance alerts to detailed fuel-usage tracking, you have advanced tools and smart actionable data at your fingertips to improve your fleet’s profitability.
Protector: Give your workers peace of mind with Protector. This fleet-management add-on provides access to a range of services designed to make their job as worry-free as possible. At the push of a button, an agent immediately makes contact to assist with roadside, legal, or medical services.
AI-powered cameras: Keep your drivers safe with AI driver behaviour recognition. These in-cabin cameras audibly alert your drivers in real time they detect forms of dangerous or distracted driving gestures like, cell phone use, speeding, fatigue and more. This gives your drivers the chance to correct their behaviour live as it happens and prevent any collisions from occurring.
Men or women, Cartrack has fleet-boosting solutions for everyone
Increased female representation in the trucking industry ultimately depends on fleet companies. Diversifying your fleet can empower women, reduce driver shortage, and increase profitability.
Whatever type of fleet you manage or strive to manage, Cartrack’s smart fleet management and optimisation tools will help you transform your business.