The short-haul and over-the-road trucking industry in the U.S. can trace its roots back to the early 20thcentury. For the entire time, trucking has been dominated by men, and the image of a typical American truck driver is associated with rugged masculinity. This portrait is reflected in classic films like Smokey and the Bandit, Convoy, and Thelma & Louise, as well as on TV with B.J. and the Bear.
Only a man’s job?
Contrary to what has been portrayed, the idea of a woman working in the industry or driving a big rig is not unthinkable. Truckinfo.net recently analyzed data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that, though a small percentage, the number of women truck drivers has almost doubled since the year 2000.
Details are in the numbers
The bureau’s analysis showed that 4% of all male full-time workers in the United States in 2020 were truck drivers, which made it by far the most common occupation for men. Additionaly, more than 9 in 10 truck drivers were men in the year 2021 according to data.
The portion of the entire U.S. working pool represented by women was 43.5% in 2019, and the number of female truck drivers at that time was around 5.5% according to the Department of Labor data. That number accounts for a slow but steady increase. In 2000, women represented 3.65% of the trucking industry as driver/sales workers and truck drivers. By 2021 that number rose to 6.75% of industry workers, composed of female driver/sales workers, plus drivers of tractor-trailers and light trucks.
Not just truck drivers
According to the 2022 Women in Trucking Index, the role of women in other trucking related jobs has made tremendous progress. This is represented by filling leadership positions in trucking companies, serving on the board of directors of organizations, and working as human resources professionals. However, women in these types of jobs outnumber those who actually drive trucks or work as technicians.
The industry responds
The American Trucking Asociation recently launched Women in Motion, an initiative to break down barriers and encourage women to pursue careers in the industry. The federal government has stepped in and established the Women in Trucking Advisory Board to support those already employed in trucking and to help bring in new workers. Other changes in the industry include actual truck design to accommodate all body types. Included are adjustable pedals, modified stairs and handrail placement, and adjustable height for seatbelts.
Tennessee’s The Herald-News website published a story about this trend that can be viewed by clicking here.
High tech training
Last, but not least, Women in Trucking recently posted an informative blog about the availability of online courses. These have become increasingly popular in the trucking industry and provide drivers access to training and certification. Click here to read the entire article.
Image above courtesy of Shutterstock.
April 4, 2023