“I had a simple goal … to make it easier for women to succeed in this male-dominated industry,” says Ellen Voie, President and CEO of Women in Trucking, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.
Ellen got the idea for Women in Trucking in 2007, while working for Schneider National. At the time Schneider were looking at ways to bring non-traditional groups (like women) into the organisation. During her research Ellen realised that transportation companies put absolutely no focus on recruiting women as drivers or team leaders. Neither were there any advocacy groups to provide support for women who wanted to join the industry. And so Women in Trucking was born.
Today there are over 4,500 members, which gives you an idea how far the industry has come. As well as representing people from all over the US, members come from as far afield as Australia, Sweden, Japan, North Africa and New Zealand. And while the majority of members are women, 17% of them are men. These men are showing their support for the Women in Trucking mission: to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, to promote their accomplishments and minimize the obstacles for getting ahead.
“Our goal is to increase the number of women employed in the industry; not just as drivers, but in leadership roles as well, because diversity in the boardroom brings greater profits to the company,” Ellen says. But increased boardroom representation isn’t the only benefit of having women in the industry. Women also make great drivers. They are safer, pay more attention to protocols such as having correct and accurate paperwork, and they’re lighter on the equipment!
“They also make incredible dispatchers because of their ability to connect with drivers and show empathy towards them. Drivers with female dispatchers know that she’s there for them and will put their safety first”, says Ellen.
Women in Trucking actively work with the industry not only to improve the image of trucking as a career for women by adapting recruitment processes, but also making the life more attractive for women. One example of this is to make truck stops a better, safer and overall nicer environment, something that male truckers also appreciate. Truck stops are now adding amenities such as hair dryers, big fluffy towels and larger shower heads. They are also putting in more lighting to increase safety and security – so everyone wins.
They are also working with truck cab designers, to improve ergonomics and cab security systems to ensure that female drivers are as safe and comfortable as their male counterparts. Women in Trucking has come a long way in 10 years. The trucking industry has transformed into a field that now welcomes women at all levels and in all roles. There is still a long way to go but Ellen is convinced that managers and owners are beginning to see their industry differently, are actively recruiting women and recognising the unique skills they can bring. Check out the Armellini Logistics website at Women In Florida In Trucking