The Road is Not Always Easy
The next time you pass an 18–wheeler, take a look at who is driving that truck next to you. It may not be who you were expecting. Many of us assume that the driver will be a man, but more and more women are driving trucks today. Statistics show that women made up 4.7% of the driver force in 2000. Yet the road has not always been smooth for women drivers.
Early Women Drivers
Most women who learned to drive trucks 40 years ago learned from their fathers, brothers and male neighbors. Not only were these men teachers, they were also there to encourage and support these adventurous women. Little did the women of those days realize that they were pioneers for the women of today, paving a future for women in this male–dominated industry.
Time Marches On
By the 60s more women were entering the trucking industry than ever before, yet it could be difficult if not impossible for a woman to get a union driving job. They also faced the problem of finding facilities to use at truck stops. When they wanted to shower, they either had to chain the door shut or have someone watch the door for them.
Though the resistance to women entering the trucking industry has been intense at times, trucking as a whole has gotten a lot friendlier toward women drivers. Women have proven that they not only have the ability to handle the big rigs, they also have earned their place on the road with men.
Opportunities in Trucking
The trucking industry likes to promote from within, which allows women the ability to work in positions other than driving. Driving may just be the first step in a long and productive career. There are many more opportunities available to women today than in just a few years past. Women have the opportunity to be involved in dispatch, sales, marketing, recruiting, management and owning their own fleet.
The concerns of women drivers are not much different than male. Safety, working conditions, pay and home time are just a few of the issues concerning all drivers. Driver safety is an issue now being addressed by most companies. They are working hard to assure that everything that can be done is being done. Many of today's trucking companies are trying to improve the conditions under which their drivers must work. Although we still need improvements, we have come a long way since trucking first began. Companies realize that families are very important to drivers and are working hard to get drivers home on a regular basis.
Not only are we seeing more female drivers, we are also seeing more retired military personnel, college graduates, husband and wife teams, and those who have lost their jobs when companies downsize or relocate overseas. The face of trucking is truly changing today as in no time ever before in the history of this industry.
Benefits Of a Trucking Career
Salaries for drivers can start at around $25,000 with some jobs having the potential to earn $70,000 per year or more. Trucking also offers a sense of freedom you can't get from more traditional jobs. If a solitary life does not appeal to you, then maybe over–the–road trucking is not for you. Just never forget there are many other driving jobs other than long haul trucking.
Women drivers are no more or less important than their male counterparts. Here are three thoughts we would like to pass along to all of our wonderful hard working female drivers out there:
- You are ladies
- You are professional drivers
- You represent not only women but the trucking industry as a whole
Remember these three thoughts and it will improve the industry not only for yourselves, but also for those young women who will follow in your footsteps.