Driven Women – Smashing the Stereotype

general 2 October 2018

We live in groundbreakingly diverse times. Why do women still only account for 1-2% of the workforce in the worldwide logistics sector?

Work life balance challenges a driving career can present is often a discouraging factor for women, particularly when juggling family commitments. Perception is that the industry is exclusively long, unyielding hours, but companies are increasingly factoring in flexibility options to their delivery schedules, making the career more accessible to those with dependants.

Historically, the physical elements of the job have been a barrier preventing more women entering the profession, however with advancements in technology and vehicle automation, the physical strain of the role along with misconceptions are being demolished. Tightening straps and heaving curtains still present a physically challenging element of the job but can be and are easily managed by either gender.

Camaraderie and banter amongst drivers are recurrent positives cited by women on the roads, evoking a sense of comradeship and belonging. However, there are unfortunately still some stereotypes and perceptions out there that need crushing. As Ellen Voie, President of Women in Trucking states, "There's still drivers out there who think women shouldn't have a place in the trucking industry.  They're few and far between, but unfortunately, they're vocal.”

Although not a traditional career choice for women, one of our more recently recruited female drivers claims it’s something she always aspired to do, combining her love of being on the open road with an enthusiasm for variety and meeting new people. The pitfalls cited are the long hours making it difficult to balance home life, and the quality of driver amenities on the road and at delivery points not being up to standard of the home depot, specifically the women’s toilet facilities (or lack thereof, which is a common complaint across the industry that needs to be addressed). However, her passion for the job overshadows any pitfalls, and she describes her tenure of a driver as ‘mostly positive, with no real issues to note’.

Support for women drivers continues to increase, with advocacy groups such as ‘Women in Logistics’ and ‘Women in Trucking’ providing insightful resources and encouragement for females in the industry, including tips on how to stay safe, and deal with obstacles women in the profession may face.

Women’s workplace influence has undoubtedly developed; it’s time for us to take responsibility in welcoming females into traditionally masculated positions, shattering the persistent reputation the logistics industry carries of being almost exclusively a man’s domain.

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