Are women leading the trucking industry? I am one of those old school truck drivers starting in the early eighties when trucking was a man’s world and very few women would consider trucking as a career. The trucking industry has always been known as an old boys club and by many is still considered that to this day. I am not sure I totally bought into that fact after all I didn’t come from a long line of truck drivers in the family. My parents were immigrants from Guyana where trucks are very different from what we see in North America. If I was following the family trail I should have been an accountant. Since I didn’t understand trucking the way many would as a man’s game I had no opinion about women working in the industry. Like the men they were either good or bad drivers that was it. Our company in the early nineties had four women working as drivers.
One of those drivers could equal the performance of any male driver in the fleet and hauled flatbed and steel with the best of them. Two were sound drivers but had trouble gaining the respect of many drivers. Many thought that they were favoured by the loads they were given by certain dispatchers. One kept trying but damaged more equipment in the shortest amount of time given. Hey at least she tried. I have always been a believer that women can do the job just fine.
Today trucking is a different world. The old boys club are starting to retire or slow down. Younger people are looking at our industry in a different way, and our industry is now formed by immigrants from outside of North America instead of kids from the farm. Women are beginning to lead the industry in many areas and showing us that true grit really pays off in the end. I have known many women drivers over the years and have never believed the men were above them. If you have what it takes to do the job you’re in!
Recently I attended an event put on by the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada (WTFC) which is an organization helping women be successful in the industry. There were some great presentations on that stage but two stood out for me the most. One was a lady who is now in charge of a fleet of recycling trucks. Her story told of strength and determination as she fought against the male mentality in the industry over the years. She overcame those obstacles and is now in charge of many of those same men who fought her in earlier years
The other presentation was from a woman that was a Ministry Inspection Officer and was thrown into a very male world inspecting large trucks. Men wouldn’t give her the time of day and many even tried to sabotage her career blatantly telling her they didn’t like her. Over the years she won them over one by one and today is not only their boss, but their friend. Very inspiring!
Women are showing us that they have what it takes and I believe we are coming to a place where we accept people for who they are and let them prove they can do the job. Listen to The Lead Pedal Podcast this month to hear the stories for yourself on these inspirational women and the next time a women comes to your location for an interview realize she may be your boss in the future, don’t prejudge her.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is the host and producer of The Lead Pedal Podcast and owner of Lead Pedal Media. He has been in the trucking industry for over 40 years and has spent 25 of them behind the wheel. The Lead Pedal Podcast focuses on business and career information for people in the trucking industry. Listen to the podcast on your favourite podcast channel or visit www.leadpedalradio.com to learn about all of the services.