Like any career path or business community, there continues to be debate concerning women’s role in these spaces. Despite multiple waves of feminism and many leaps and bounds towards equality and equity on all fronts, women continue to go unseen and questioned in professional spaces. However, thanks to both women and their allies in these spaces, more and more progress continues to be made.
Below, you’ll find more information about women and truck driving and how they fit into this typically masculine-associated community, including how women have been truck drivers for longer than we’ve thought, the similarities between truck driving as a career for women and other professions, and safety tips for current and aspiring women truck drivers. Lastly, you’ll find the answer to the question: Can women be truck drivers?
Short Answer: Yes
The short answer to “Can women be truck drivers?” is yes! Thanks to legislation passed in the twentieth century, sex and gender cannot be discriminated against in the place of work. You may have heard of variations of the use of these laws and regulations, such as protections for pregnant and unmarried women and simply allowing women the right to work in whichever workplace they choose.
Many organizations work towards gender diversity and equality in truck driving, even though laws and regulations are already in place to encourage this. Despite these progressions, some employers and male truck drivers are hesitant to accept women into their community. Nonetheless, women will continue to truck drive, too!
Although women still do not make up a large portion of truck drivers nationwide, they do exist. In fact, women truck drivers make up 8% of the truck drivers in the United States in 2022 and are ever-increasing as the truck driver shortage necessitates more and more available drivers. This number is a 3% increase from the previous years! 3% may not sound like a lot, but considering the U.S. is made up of millions of people, 3% accounts for 30,000 women per million Americans! Moreover, 14% of truck drivers nationwide who are Class A certified are women. The numbers just keep rising!
Women & Truck Driving
But how did women start truck driving? And when did they even begin? Like many professions, women’s broad-reaching admittance began during World War I, when most male Americans were abroad fighting during the war. Although the larger-scale admittance for women into the workforce started more in the 1940s during World War II, the same happened during the First World War. As there were few men to perform necessary jobs to keep the country going, American women (and women worldwide) stepped up to take their places. Women became truck drivers, factory workers, businesswomen, firefighters, you name it! If men can do it, so can women.
Some fairly famous women truck drivers, such as Luella Bates and Lillie Elizabeth McGee Drennan, were some of the first licensed women truck drivers! Women truck drivers also appear frequently in the media, with recognizable characters such as the ghostly driver “Large Marge” from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and a spoof character of the same name in The Simpsons. No matter where you look, women truck drivers have always answered positively, “Can women be truck drivers?”
Safety Tips for Women Truck Drivers
Women truck drivers, unfortunately, are in a uniquely challenging position. Not only are there fewer women within the truck driving industry–both as drivers and in behind-the-scenes truck driving industry positions–but women are typically seen as vulnerable targets to outsiders and strangers–or just anyone who doesn’t have other’s best interests at heart. There are a few safety tips that women truck drivers can follow to protect themselves and others on the road.
- A simple but necessary safety tip is always to check your window and door locks–twice! You should also think about reinforcing door locks or getting window shades so no one can see into your cab at night while sleeping.
- A longer-term safety option for a female truck driver is to get a truck-driving travel pet companion, such as a dog. Dogs have always been known as guards due to their typical hypervigilance surrounding strange noises and people. If you’re sleeping in your cab, this is a great option, as you’ll get a guard dog for your space and a cuddle buddy!
- One easy safety tip is always ensuring your dispatcher, friends, and family know where you are. This simple step can save you if a situation becomes dangerous. The more knowledge people you trust have about you and your safety, the more likely they are to keep you safe, too!
- Although this may seem obvious, always be aware of your surroundings. If you’re traveling alone, make sure no one is following you when you head back to your truck, and never make it obvious that you’re alone–i.e., if you’re on the phone with someone, don’t say you’re heading back or traveling alone.
- Lastly, trust your gut! If a situation or space feels unsafe, find somewhere else, especially if traveling alone! It’s always better to err on safety rather than stay in a possibly dangerous situation.
Help TDI Help Women Truck Drivers!
Are you looking to become one of the next women truck drivers or help make truck driving more accessible to women? Join TDI today and contact us to get started on your next big career move! We’ll help you from start to finish and match you with the best possible truck driving company that fits your needs.
Get your Class A CDL in our friendly, supportive CDL training program. TRAIN with experienced instructors – multiple good-paying, secure job choices with benefits available for eligible graduates. EARN $700 – $1000+ / week to start as a truck driver. Get started today by filling out the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!