Women in Trucking

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Avatar for Richard-M-Adrian
2 years ago

Does the steering wheel understand gender? 

The trucking industry is facing a steep truck driver shortage. And as the American population strives to keep up with the demand, the career remains a male-dominated domain. According to the American Trucking Association, the country faced a shortage of approximately 100,000 drivers at the start of 2020. You'd wonder why, yet the job attracts decent pay and takes you to cool places. 

Ingrid Brown has been on the wheel for three decades and hopes to attract more women into the career. Brown is a 57 old cross country driver who owns a tractor-truck and takes her safety measures. She believes the fact that women will see her doing it could easily prompt them to begin driving trucks. She lauds companies that are seeking more women into the career through direct recruiting.

Life on the road is tough for women. They are few, and the occasional woman trucker grapples with sexual harassment, sexism, hygiene and personal safety.

While it’s tough to become a female truck driver, the landscape is changing. The profession is gradually opening up to more women and if it’s ever been your dream to cruise down the highway - here is a bit of what you should know. 

In this post, you are going to learn about: 

  • Shortage of truck drivers

  • Scarcity of women truck drivers

  • Salary for truckers

  • Positive and negative aspects of being a female trucker

  • Comparison note on the pros and cons

  • How female truck drivers are dealing with the negative side

  • How to get your CDL

  • Finding  driving jobs

Historically, truck driving was dominated by men. You would hardly find a woman on the wheel and if you did - they were only a few of them. However, these numbers have risen over the past decade. Why the gradual upswing

A Country Running out of Truckers

Companies have their hopes pinned on self-driving trucks,  and therefore the insatiable need for truck drivers hasn't gone aloof. But the problem is we are still far off from achieving fully autonomous semis. Hence, we are still in need of thousands of drivers. ATA reported a shortage of 36,000 drivers in 2016, this figure rose to 63,000 in 2016, and the report estimates the shortage will hit 175,000 by 2024. These stats follow a freight industry that continues to grow at an alarming rate but with fewer and fewer drivers showing up for recruitment.

So it's true, we are short of truckers folks

As a result, trucking companies have been in a recruitment spree that is putting into account immigrants, veterans and mostly important, women. 

We have seen a shift from the sexist hostility facing women truckers. Hence, making the industry more open to ladies. 

An estimated 6 percent of truck drivers are women. The American workforce houses 40 percent of female workers. You can easily spot the improvements in gender roles and notice how society has changed over time. For example, the olden days had men being breadwinners and their women remaining at home to raise families. If any women had jobs, that that number was meagre. And certainly, scarcely any of them would take jobs that led them far from family for weeks or months. A situation that made it difficult to have women in roles such as truck driving. 

Today, the rules have changed and few women are remaining at home to take care of families. Men are also playing a large part in raising children and with family planning, some women are even postponing when to start families. 

With that said, it's easy to see how easy women are to be part of the truck driving fraternity. 

Why You Should Gun Down the Highway 

The significance of riding trucks. 

Everybody enjoys a fat paycheck. Trucking sits among the highest paying jobs demanding no papers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates truckers have a median salary of $43,680. Other industry figures reported an average of $53,000. 

As a driver, you could be paid hourly or on a per-mile basis. Some truckers also charge some revenue percentage on the load. You will also find truck firms that provide per diem pay to cover for the driver's expenses along the way. Also, consider the following types of pay: 

  • Detention Pay - Compensation for unnecessary delays where the shipper has delayed the freight. 

  • Stop Pay - This is compensation when the trucker has to stop multiple times to pick up loads and drop them off. This payment is ideal if the shipper wants you to stop many times before arriving at the destination. 

  • Accessorial Pay - This is compensation for time spent on other services besides driving, for example, non-dock deliveries, after-hours, loading and/or unloading freight, and finally applying shrink wrap-pallets. 

Some fleets will give signing, efficiency, safety and fuel bonuses, plus other benefits for packaging and scheduling the freight. 
Note: Many drivers still have their payment on a per-mile basis. And this payment is usually cents per mile. Averagely, it is around 0.28 and 0.40 cents per mile. When a driver manages to spend a good time hitting the road, they could still earn a fair hourly rate. However, unforeseen circumstances such as delays could wither the payment. So is time wasted waiting to pick up, load or when stuck in traffic.

Again, job openings are many and the likelihood of falling among the 90 percent of firms giving workers a 401k plan and paid leave is pretty high. Whether single or married, the incentives are healthy and as a truck driver, you will enjoy paid travel across the US. A few of you appreciate their independence and a career that grants you time to yourself-; A career that will save you from the nuance of daily customer service and urban noise. Trucking might be their footing

Trucking, A Day in the life of a female Trucke

Truckers will tell you, that just like any other workers, they are there to do their job. Sure, the job comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. But if you are willing to cruise those miles, these drawbacks will hardly matter. 

For women who’d like to know what it’s like to be a lady trucker, let’s go through a few of those:

Most women currently in the trucking business will say they'd rather hit the road than spend their time behind office desks. Interestingly, the claim the job is fascinating comes with great pay and offer great flexibility benefits. 

Other than sexism, intimidation, hygiene issues and harassment, these women emphasize, life on the wheel is pretty awesome. 

The best part of trucking is the salary don't discriminate based on gender.  Freight firms offer an equal salary for equal work. 

Dealing with the Negatives as a Female Trucker

Being safe!

Figures from the US Bureau of Labour suggest women truckers are safer than men. Experts say it's because women drivers are less likely to engage in risks. Or maybe because they do the following: 

Plan ahead of time - Planning your routes ahead of time is important. Planning will give you a clear idea of the stops and the people you are likely to interact with along the way. 

Read Reviews - Figure out the eateries, restrooms and showers along the routes before embarking on the journey. Find reviews online and spot a perfect stop. 

Lock the F*** Door - It doesn't matter if you are stepping out for a second to breathe. Just lock the doors. 

Remain in the Open - Avoid secluded places such as in between trucks. Stay where most people can easily spot you and come to your help in case of anything.

Preparing your Meals  - Don't limit yourself to the food along the highway. Some trucks are well furnished to help you prepare your food. Make your food. 

Enrol into a Women’s Organization - Find out more about this at Women in Trucking Association and you will engage with more valuable conversations. 

Most women have reported that fellow truckers, be it men, are warm and helpful. After being asked what might have resulted in a successful career in the trucking industry, women attributed this to:

  • Where they got their training

  • The firm they work/drive for

  • Where they stop for food, rest or fuel. 

  • The people they let into the truck

Getting Started

Acquire a Commercial Driving License (CDL).  The license is costly, but that doesn't mean entering into massive debts or loan plans. CDL costs anything between $3,000 and $7,000. Dismiss any program that charges more than that. Some programs will also suggest high-interest loans to help meet your tuition costs. You will find programs that guarantee a job on successful completion of the training. Find a reputable school and if they link you to a job, remember to agree on the amount of time you will work for the firm. Also, counter check your earnings and make sure they don't take much from your paycheck. 

Ideally, you could apply for a grant or scholarship that will fund your training. Veterans have access to training benefits through which they can pay for their CDL. 

Find a Job and Start Driving

Once you are through the training, its time to find a job. Rule number is understanding the job, the schedules and flexibility of the trips plus how much you will get paid.


You now found the job. It’s time to start riding. 

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Avatar for Richard-M-Adrian
2 years ago