Twenty-one female truck drivers participated in the sixth Canadian Salute to Women Behind the Wheel, organized by the Owner-Operator’s Business Association of Canada (OBAC) in partnership with Women in Trucking (WIT).
Collectively, those who posed for the traditional group photo at the event had 350 years of driving experience. But all levels of experience were represented. Four drivers had fewer than three years behind the wheel, and two women had more than 40 years.
“These women bust the myth that a woman driving a truck is a relatively new phenomenon,” said OBAC executive director Joanne Ritchie. “It also sends a strong message to other girls and women that driving can be a satisfying, stable career choice.”
Sarah Hilton, LeadHERtrucking vice-president – development, offered the group insights into a new mentoring program for women drivers. While the overall number of women drivers remains low, at less than 5%, she noted that women account for close to half the drivers at Skelton Truck Lines of Sharon, Ont.
Two-thirds of Kriska Transportation Group senior leaders are women, and half the management team at McConnell Transport of Woodstock, N.B. are women, she said.
“If we want to help women get excited about transportation as a career choice, we have to show them women out there working and succeeding in the industry, and dealing with the lingering perception that transportation jobs are for men,” said Ritchie, adding that the women being recognized will inspire and encourage ‘generation next’ to join the industry, demonstrating that women drivers can thrive and enjoy a career behind the wheel.
The salute was first established at the Mid-America Trucking Show in 2009. Canadian versions of the event have been hosted in Abbotsford, B.C.; Moncton; and Toronto.
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