Gals’ve come a long way, Guys

July 22, 2011  | by: Lucinda Coulter

Women drivers made up only 4 percent of all truckers in 1995. That percent hasn’t changed much in the last 16 years, but the October 1998 story about female drivers has rung true in trends it showed.

If the Women in Trucking Association advocacy is any indication, more and more women have discovered that confidence is boosted from driving a truck, as the 1998 story suggested. Two of the drivers interviewed, Mary Storey and Geather Hogeland, agreed that trucking is rewarding to them. Hogeland, who had driven for more than 20 years in 1998, told the magazine that trucking fit her lifestyle.

“There are so many things I love about trucking: the camaraderie on the road, the all-night conversations we have with people across several states, being with my husband. This is home.”

Women have come so far in trucking that, in early June, the Women in Trucking Association officers took part in the first roundtable for women working in skilled, blue-collar transportation careers at the U.S. Department of Transportation. About 25 other national organizations joined in the discussion for how women can cope with challenges in the industry.

Starting Monday, July 25, there will be another five-day U.S. DOT program seeking suggestions on recuitment and hiring of women in transportation related trades. You can find out how to register for the dialogue here.

It’s surely not all peaches and cream for women truckers, but by their own account, they’ve come a long way since the days of pin-up calendars and depictions on mud flaps. A resident of Mesa, Ariz., Jean Graff nailed her perspective in Overdrive: “If you don’t have a backbone and stand up for yourself, you will fail.” But the then 29-year-old had an upside, too. “I make good money, and I don’t have to clean bathrooms or do the dishes.”

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