Mississauga, Ont. – The leader of Women in Trucking expressed the need to redefine the road at a session during the Recruitment and Retention conference hosted by Over the Road.
On October 2, Ellen Voie, the president, CEO and founder of Women in Trucking, spoke to industry experts and colleagues about the lackluster image women have within the transport industry.
“I want to help you think about ways to get more women in trucking,” Voie said.
Voie told a crowd at the conference that the mandate of Women In Trucking is to increase the number of females in the industry.
“We are not necessarily an organization for women, we are about women,” said Voie.
Women, according to Voie, are ideal candidates to get behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer for various reasons. Women, it has been reported, take fewer risks, are usually easier to train, tend to be better with customers, paper work and equipment.
“It is proven that women take fewer risks because of testosterone,” said Voie. “That’s simple biology.”
While the benefits of having women behind the wheel are proven, the industry still faces many challenges, such as image and exposure, recruiting, the demands in a physical environment, harassment and safety at truck stops and docks.
“Images appeal to both women and men,” Voie said, hoping that the industry will begin to use realistic models and create ads that reflect the driver.
The advertisements within the industry have a sexist undertone that Voie hopes is eliminated.
“One ad asked readers to ‘take a peek under our skirt,’” said Voie. “Is this a company a woman wants to work for?”
Image isn’t the only challenge, physical demands are also playing a difficult role and ergonomic vehicles could alleviate the some problems.
“Trucks need to be as adaptable for women as they are for men,” said Voie, who recounted a recent conversation she had with a female driver who always tucked the seatbelt behind her back because it cut into her neck and shoulders since it was made for the average man’s build.
Safety and security issues are also a concern for all drivers, but especially female operators.
Voie reported that most women always pay close attention to their surroundings, never park at the rear of a building and stay to well-lit areas, issues that their male counterparts have often attested they overlook, but aren’t ignorant to.
“All drivers have to be safe,” Voie said. “Not just women.”