Attracting women to trucking is about visibility

by Sonia Straface

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – If you want to attract women into your fleet, you have to show them they can work for you.

That’s according to Jane Jazrawy, CEO of CarriersEdge, who spoke at this year’s Fleet Safety Council conference about gender inequality and promoting diversity in trucking.

Growing up, Jazrawy said she wasn’t told she could be an astronaut, or a police officer, or anything she wanted, like her male counterparts were. She was told she had to be pretty and look good. This message was hammered home by media images of women growing up to being nurses and sectaries and nothing else.

And these images are still out there today, Jazrawy said. So if trucking wants to attract women, they need to put images out there that show women can be drivers.

“We need to show women doing other things,” she said, noting Challenger Motor Freight does a great job of this, and has a good ratio of men to women in its fleet.
Challenger actually puts women in its ads, to show women they can do the job, Jazrawy said.

“Other fleets just put trucks in their ads,” she said. “But Challenger puts people. And women so they can see they can do the job.”

Prime Inc. is also making its female drivers visible, Jazrawy said. Prime has a program called Highway Diamonds. The group is comprised of Prime’s female drivers who go out and educate others on the upside of truck driving as a career.

“They have doubled the number of women drivers in their fleet because of this program,” Jazrawy said. “Because women are visible and they represent the fleet.”

Jazrawy added that another way to attract women into the trucking industry, is to address the elephant in the room – harassment – which she says happens everywhere. Jazrawy said to implement a policy for harassment and know how you’re going to deal with these claims before they happen.

“If you want women drivers, you must think about harassment,” she said. “You don’t want to think that it happens, but it does. It happens everywhere all over the world. So if you’re not thinking about what to do, you’re failing your drivers.”

She warns about just having an “open door” policy that is up for interpretation by most.

“If you want women in this industry, ask for it,” she said. “Show them they can do it. Show them doing the job in your advertisements. At truck shows, have your women drivers attend to represent your company.”

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