A friend wrote to me the other day about whether women can be truck drivers. She had a friend that asked her and even though she had some experience around trucks in her own life it was not something she really knew about so she asked another person she knew that was a driver. In this industry you have to be extremely careful who you listen to and after getting the responses to her questions she was quite upset. She was told a number of facts and was degraded as a person I was asked for a second opinion and was shocked at what I had heard.
She had asked this driver whether a women could become a truck driver. This driver told her that carriers don’t hire women because they are unsafe. He continued that due to the size of their wrists they couldn’t handle the large trucks and that due to automation in the future robots will be driving the trucks so there will be no jobs left. When I heard this I was enraged that in 2022 we still have fellow drivers talking about our industry like this. It certainly isn’t a picture perfect industry but I thought we were well past 1968. I was so upset I wrote my friend an email combating each statement and told her to find another friend. If you are wondering the same thing then let me help you as well?
First, women make great drivers! I have worked alongside of women from drivers to instructors and more and they were all excellent at their jobs. They worked in all genres from flatbed to steel and I would be proud to work with them in the industry. Many carriers are actually looking for women drivers because they are very safe drivers. There has been a push the last few years by many companies to get women drivers and the challenge isn’t the equipment but more the family support at home for children and other necessities.
The next point had me laughing out loud in amazement. Women’s wrists are too small to handle driving a truck. I assumed who ever told her this was still driving a 1960 cabover Ford with standard steering. The last I checked this was 2022 and most trucks are automatic with power steering. What wrist size has to do with it was beyond me. This was personal however as I was told the same thing as a young black person in high school in the 70’s. I was told that black people didn’t play hockey because they had weak ankles. I never understood that because at the time I played hockey and knew that black people made great basketball players and that requires strong ankles. Maybe it’s because black people came from warmer climates and weren’t exposed to hockey?
The last point was the only point that had any relevancy to the industry. There has been a long ongoing discussion over automation and where it’s taking us in the future. Automation will replace some jobs but certainly not for at least a decade or more in my opinion. Some basic jobs will be lost but others will be created from that technology. Our infrastructure and laws are not close to being ready for that switch for a long time and the technology will not be something everyone can afford or will want. I tell drivers all the time to specialize in their jobs and work for good carriers and they will have a lifetime of work ahead of them.
If you are a women looking at this industry as a future career then may I welcome you with open arms. Many women have had successful careers as professional drivers and if you need support in that area I would ask you to look into women driver groups such as The Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada and Women in Trucking. Both organizations help women have great careers in transportation. If you would like to talk to a trucking company about your options then visit the TTSAO Carrier Page or the TTSAO Accredited Schools for a list of training facilities in your area. Good Luck and again, be careful who listen to for advice.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a veteran in the transportation industry with over 40 years in the industry in a variety of roles from driver to fleet supervisor and more. Today he is a media specialist in the industry producing a number of programs for the trucking industry such as his trucking podcast The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com or his radio station Lead Pedal Radio at www.leadpedalradio.com
Disclaimer: This article is written and based on the opinion of the author and is for general information only