Is Truck Driving a Good Career for Women?
Nowadays, women compose more of the trucking workforce than ever before – but that number still sits between 8 and 10%. In the midst of the driver shortage that has worsened over the past few years, recruiting women CDL drivers is more important than ever. This Women’s History Month, take a look at the history of women in truck driving, as well as some of the top reasons women should consider a career in trucking!
How Long Have Women Been Trucking?
Traditionally, truck driving has been stereotyped as a male-dominated profession. Back when women were encouraged to stay home with their families, hitting the road for weeks at a time was out of the question. However, as early as the 1920s, women were proving that they could keep up with men when they took over driving jobs during the first World War. The first known female to possess a commercial driver’s license was Luella Bates, who joined 150 other women to make up for the lost workforce at Four Wheel Drive Auto Co. after the start of World War I. Once the war ended, most women were sent home to their domestic spheres – but not Bates. She continued to work as a driver and remains a success story for female truck drivers everywhere! Over a century later, women continue to hit the road and are constantly making waves in the transportation industry.
Why Should Women Become Truck Drivers?
1. Women in the Workplace: In the last few decades, women have become an increasingly large percentage of the workforce – currently, it sits at around 51%! Statistically, younger generations are also more career-focused and tend to start their families later in life, meaning spending some time on the road is an achievable goal.
2. Female Truck Driver Salaries are Equal: The wage gap is a big discussion point when it comes to women in the workplace. However, with trucking, this gap is nonexistent – a female truck driver’s salary will be completely equal to a man’s, if they drive the same amount. Instead of pay being based on a salary decided for you or an hourly rate, most company drivers are paid by cents on the mile. This means that the amount of work you do is directly correlated with how much you make. Plus, truck drivers make great money!
Learn about Melton’s average truck driver pay and more on our pay page!
3. Women are Safer Drivers: Statistically, it’s been shown that the average woman drives safer than a man. This is due to the fact that men tend to be more prone to unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding or succumbing to road rage. This is not applicable to all male drivers, of course, but driving a large truck is already a dangerous job. Why not have more statistically cautious drivers behind the wheel?
4. Freedom to Travel: While this one is a perk for every truck driver, it’s definitely worth the mention! Seeing the country is a dream for many – but travelling by yourself as a woman can be nerve wracking or feel unsafe. As a truck driver, you’ll be on the road most of the time; however, you won’t be alone. Through technology and constant communication, you’ll be accounted for every step of the way. So, women drivers can feel safe and confident knowing they are not alone when visiting all the beautiful sights our country has to offer.
Below are some photos taken by real drivers during their trips! Take a look!
5. Improved Safety: Speaking of safety and technology, the development of new technologies over the past several years has made it safer than ever to be a female truck driver. Smartphone apps make it easy to find reputable places to stop – way better than picking a shady spot at random to sleep for the night. Technology on the truck has improved too. Dashcams will deter any suspicious individuals, and in the unlikely event something does happen, it will be recorded and saved. While it’s still important to be diligent with trip planning and safety measures, being a woman in the trucking industry has never been safer.
6. Communities to Join: Thanks to the invention of social media, there are countless groups of women truck drivers you can ask for advice or share stories with about your experiences on the open road. A few female truckers also have social media platforms of their own, so prospective female drivers can get an idea of what a day in the life of a truck driver is actually like. Women In Trucking is a nonprofit group established in 2007 that aims to bring equality to the transportation industry and mitigate any challenges a woman might face. If you’re a female in the transportation industry, join Women in Transportation here!
These are just a few of the several reasons why women should consider a career in truck driving. The transportation industry is vast and offers countless opportunities for all, and can make for a rewarding and exciting career. Perhaps most important of all, women truck drivers serve as an inspiration for the younger generations of girls who want to achieve big things. For any woman seeking a fulfilling career that’s essential to keep our nation strong, get your Class A CDL and give truck driving a chance! You can learn more about our flatbed training program here.
If you’re curious about what it’s like to be a woman CDL driver, check out this video from one of our female drivers!