A recent report showed that women are entering the truck transportation industry in record numbers.
According to Truck Drivers U.S.A., 1.6 million women work in the trucking industry. Though the trucking profession is still male dominated, women make up 18% of the trucking workforce – which is a record high. In a time where the industry struggles by having nearly 80,000 less drivers, it seems that women are stepping up to fill those jobs.
Experts debate why the shift is happening now, and some believe it could be tied to burnout in other professions. “So a few years ago, I would have said it was women coming in from service jobs, but just in the past year, more and more women have come in from the healthcare industry,” said Ellen Voie, the president of the Women in Trucking Association, in an article by Quartz.
Quartz asked Connie August, a female trucker from North Dakota, if she thinks women will continue to enter the trucking industry. She told the news site that her experience was tough when she began driving in 2008. August was the subject of jokes and pranks by her male trucker counterparts for a while, but that the atmosphere has improved since then. “Etiquette on the road has gotten better. People in the workplace have treated lady truckers with more respect,” said August.
Desiree Wood, president of Real Women in Trucking, told Quartz that she has noticed more and more young women entering the field. She thinks that the industry is slowly starting to become more desirable for young women as she remarked, “I mean, if you’re a woman truck driver, you’re badass.”