Transportation – a predominantly male-dominated industry. Ain’t it?
Truck drivers – A bearded massive man with a ball cap on his head, wearing a baggy flannel shirt over blue jeans. Is that the same picture that comes to your mind when you hear of a truck driver? The gender gap in the trucking industry has grown limitless that we find it hard to even picture women truck driver. Reports suggest that there are only 6% of women in the trucking industry. And over the past 15 years, there had been only a slight and hardly noticeable increase in the number of women in this industry (from 4.5 to 6%). How sad!?
Why there is a need for women in the trucking business?
According to the recent reports, to keep up with the demands, there is a need for 90,000 new truck drivers. But there is another disheartening news that by 2026, there would be a shortage of almost 174,000 drivers in the USA. What does this mean? Evidently, we need more women in the trucking industry to fill the shortage. But why aren’t our women attracted to this sector of employment?
Women are found to be more attentive and cautious behind the wheel. Data has it that when compared to male truck drivers, female truck drivers tend to remain with the company for a longer time, have fewer preventable accidents, drive more miles, and log more hours. Thus, boosting the companies’ bottom lines.
Why aren’t there many women in the trucking industry?
Trucking presents one with a range of opportunities and amenities. The pay is good with lots of other facilities like insurance, flexibility, etc. But in spite of this, women make up only 6% of the workforce. What is keeping them from joining this occupation?
Women want to feel safe and secure in their working environment. The trucking industry fails to deliver that. When it comes to restrooms, showers, or sleeping options, women truck drivers face a lot of challenges and find it difficult to adjust to such a rough environment. Providing a secure and respectful environment to work in may attract more women to this industry.
Harassment and criticism
Women from any genre of the workplace have faced some other gender criticism. But when it comes to a highly male-dominant industry like transportation, the intensity is far more than usual.
Living the life of a woman truck driver means living a life on the roads. Technically, there is quite less time spent with their loved ones. Women are hesitant to such professions where one has to sacrifice home life.
Shortage of female-friendly trucks
The pedals, seats, and gauges of a truck are generally designed for typical male drivers. And average female drivers are 6 inches shorter and weigh 28% less than the male drivers making it difficult for them to attain better control over the vehicle.
The industry is taking note of these challenges and making it a point to bring more flexibility and compatibility to encourage diversity in their working population. Some changes have already been implemented and the life of women behind wheels is still improving. There are various non-profit associations that work dedicatedly to mending this gender gap and encouraging millennials into the industry. The future of women in the trucking industry is surely going to be far more promising.