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Women in Trucking: Past, Present, & Future

The trucking industry is often viewed as a male dominated profession, however history and the future lay out a story that proves female drivers are meant to be a part of the freight and hauling industry. March is Women's History Month and it is the perfect occasion for National Truck & Equipment Sales to celebrate female truck drivers of the past, present, and future as they are all lady pioneers for the industry.

History

During World War I, the country looked to women to drive and test vehicles that would be needed to haul military supplies for the soldiers. Luella Bates holds the title of being the "first female truck driver". She got hired by Four Wheel Drive (FWD) Auto Company out of Clintonville, Wisconsin along with over 100 other women. These ladies stepped up to the job duty of truck driver when men were called away to the war effort. According to history and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, "Bates and her fellow female driver logged plenty of miles and hours driving the new trucks under various road and weather conditions throughout Wisconsin. The women not only sharpened their driving skills during these experimental rides but also acquired a great deal of mechanical know-how."

Today and the Future

History shows that women are dependable and good for the trucking industry. Ellen Voie, President & CEO of the Women In Trucking Association (WIT) is trying hard in today's age to bring more females drivers to the working world. In 2014, her organization created a Girl Scout's badge that educates young troop members on female job opportunities within the transportation industry. 

Female truckers are wanted because they are known for being reliable and for having good safety records on the road. Many women ride along with companions that are professional haulers and by this association some females have even found a calling to drive on their own. Andrea Prohl, a long-time big rig driver for The Grimes Company, became of part of the industry thanks to her family's background of drivers and also due to being a ride along buddy for a friend turned mentor within the trucking industry. She now co-owns a rig with her husband and has been driving for over 15 years.

As the need for more drivers to the industry grows, businesses will continue to tap into the market of female drivers. Many trucking companies understand that women are the future when it comes to trucking and hauling. "The U.S. trucking industry faces an immediate shortfall of 48,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations, and that number is on track to quadruple by 2025...To compensate for the shortage, fleet operators have been boosting pay and dangling 401(k) and tuition reimbursement programs — but also aggressively putting programs in place that directly target the fairer sex." explained CNBC in their article titled, The Next Big Thing in US Trucking: Female Drivers.

Women drivers were needed in the past and they are also in need now and onward into the future. Let them all be celebrated!


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