The numbers are in and, according to the federal government, the trucking industry has one of the lowest percentages of women in the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women made up 46.8 percent of all laborers 16 years or older in 2015. But, of the more than 2 million workers in the trucking industry, only 11.4 percent were female. The most recent survey shows that women constitute just 5.1 percent of truck drivers -- the smallest percentage since 2011.
But, change is in the air.
Women In Trucking
Desiree Ann Wood, president of the nonprofit group REAL Women in Trucking, Inc., is on a mission to see more women choosing the trucking industry as a career. “This job is not for everyone, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman or how big or small or strong or weak you are,” said Wood, who is also a trucker for a private farm operation.
Deborah Gee, an industry consultant and former driver who entered the industry though the Women Building Futures program in Canada blames the low female numbers in trucking on the simple lack of understanding that “women are just as capable as men to get the job done and get it done right.”
Professional Organizations For Women In Trucking
Industry-sponsored professional organizations like Women in Trucking as well as independent groups like REAL Women in Trucking, the LifeAsATrucker.com’s Women in Trucking channel, and specialty job sites such as LadyTruckDrivers.com are rapidly popping up online. These sites provide information and support to veterans as well as newcomers researching the industry.
Breaking The Stereotypes
The only way to break through stereotypical perceptions of women in the trucking industry is to continuously promote, share, and applaud female success stories. Women need to know what’s possible and what options are available to them. It’s only from a position of knowledge and realistic expectations that they can make an informed decision on whether or not trucking is for them.