If I had a nickel for everytime I’ve been asked “Do YOU really drive that big truck?” and then another nickel for the follow up, “By yourself?,” I would be living on the beach somewhere in the Caribbean watching the sunsets with my toes in the sand.
Today, professional women truck drivers are growing in numbers and come from all walks of life. Women are still a small percentage of the trucking industry. However, we have increased from less than 1% to 10% of the truck driver work force in two decades. Female lawyers, doctors, teachers, nurses, construction workers, piano instructors, school bus drivers, fast food workers and stay-at-home moms are finding that becoming a professional truck driver has options they’ve never been offered. The freedom of work schedules, while having more family time and an increase in pay have led more women to earn their CDLs and get behind the wheel.
Because they are no longer tied down in a 9-5 career, women truck drivers have gained independence and flexibility, and are able to meet the demands of a job that is much needed in today’s world.
As women grow into diversified roles in the trucking industry, we aren’t just entering into the “driver workforce.” We are equals in a career that pays the same and our job descriptions don’t vary because of who we are. Many women are becoming service technicians, mechanics and equipment dealers. We are taking leadership roles in C-suite with titles and managerial positions that show we can do the jobs, while also helping to bring more women in ever-higher numbers into the trucking industry. We are here, our numbers are growing and there is definitely room for many more!
There are so many options available today for women to earn their CDLs, become professional truck drivers and hit the road. The place to start is to reach out to women drivers and ask a gazillion questions. Social media groups, pages, personal individuals and platforms like BackTheTruckUp.com and FreightWaves.com are great places for guidance.
Reach out to those ladies who are in positions you see yourself in. Contact associations with missions you agree with or believe in – like WomeninTrucking.org. They have all the information you need to enter the industry – in all the areas you can imagine. They also sponsor scholarships for women obtaining their CDL, as well as those studying to become mechanics.
See what would work for you and your family, your lifestyle and your income and benefits needs. Look around in your area and reach out to local community colleges and private truck driver training schools. The answers to all your questions aren’t far away or hard to find.
However, let me throw this in – be very true to yourself and your family by conducting due diligence in finding the position that fits you. Don’t believe everything you hear or that is said; instead, keep your eyes wide open and let the actions speak louder than words. This industry is huge and wide open. It’s a giving industry, but there will be some mountains to climb. But there is no obstacle that you cannot overcome, if you want to do it badly enough!
There are many mentors that make women drivers love trucking. I have never met another lady driver yet that doesn’t love to share the satisfaction of being a professional driver. The best part of all is sharing with another woman so she can know what it feels like hearing those words – “Do YOU really drive that big truck?” and replying, “Why, YES, YES I do!”
Read more from Ingrid Brown