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WIT promotes female drivers

TORONTO, Ont. - Women in Trucking, an organization aimed at encouraging the employment of women in the trucking industry, promoting their accomplishments, and minimizing the obstacles they face, is ga...


TORONTO, Ont. – Women in Trucking, an organization aimed at encouraging the employment of women in the trucking industry, promoting their accomplishments, and minimizing the obstacles they face, is gaining momentum on both sides of the border. But the group needs more industry support, Ellen Voie, founder and chairwoman of the organization, said at the Canadian Recruiting and Retention Conference.

So far the fledgling group has 28 Canadian members and more than 600 in North America. Some large corporations such as International Truck and Engine, Freightliner and Flying-J have come on-board, as well as a plethora of male and female professional drivers. Voie said she hopes fleets will see the value in joining the group and making their company more “female-friendly.”

Challenger Motor Freight is one Canadian fleet member, and she said it has already paid dividends for the carrier’s recruiting efforts.

Currently, women represent just 5.2% of the professional driving force in the US and an even lower 2.9% in Canada.

“We want to encourage women to do this. We’re here and we’re not going away,” said Voie. “It’s something most women haven’t considered because we haven’t asked them. They think if they’re not mechanically-minded that they can’t drive a truck and they think they need to be big and burly to unload.”

WIT’s mission is to knock down barriers that prevent women from entering the trucking industry. She said their primary concern is safety, so the organization plans on tackling the issue by appealing to truck stops and shippers to improve lighting and security at their facilities and make them more welcoming for female drivers. The group is also working with truck stops to increase the availability of products aimed at women, whether it be female-sized clothing, shoes or toiletries. Many of the association’s fleet members have already taken steps to make their organizations more female-friendly.

Schneider National, for instance, provides female-friendly shower and laundry facilities at its terminals and has begun recognizing women through its advertising campaigns. Voie relayed the success of another fleet which now has a driver population featuring 23% women because it simply offers automated transmissions and team runs. WIT plans to recognize such carriers and suppliers through an awards program. It also recognizes the Woman Driver of the Year. For more information, visit www.womenintrucking.org.


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