MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Showcasing the success stories of female truckers could help attract more women to the industry.
That is according to panelists at the Females in the Trucking Industry session Thursday at the TTSAO annual conference.
“Make sure you share your success story, and share how welcome that you feel,” said moderator Leanne Quail, operations manager at Paul Quail Transport.
“I think we’re doing a terrible job at that, I think that is why we don’t have (a lot of) women (drivers).” Quail added.
Safety and compliance specialist Helen Thorpe also believes spreading the word would help.
“Don’t just talk among ourselves. Go and talk to your other friends,” she told the women in the audience.
Just 3% of Canada’s truck drivers are women. And in the U.S., female representation is about 7%.
The panelists also said that the perception that women only want to be trained by women is wrong.
“No, no, no,” said Shelley Uvanile-Hesch, CEO of the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada.
“They want somebody that has knowledge, experience and patience,” Uvanile-Hesch said to applause from the audience.
She said there are ways to accommodate the needs of female trainees.
Uvanile-Hesch cited the example of a carrier whose male trainer sleeps in a hotel room and the female trainee sleeps on the truck.
“We fought long and hard to be treated as an equal in this industry, and you’re turning back the clock,” Uvanile-Hesch said.
Quail then asked the panelists whether women face any particular challenge as a trainer in a male dominated industry.
Lynn Northcott of Zavcor Trucking said transitioning from a driver to an instructor itself was a challenge.
She said the challenge now is to become a mother to the trainees, bond with them and offer everything you know about driving.
The panelists agreed that there are common problems both male and female truckers face. The foremost among them, a severe shortage of parking spots.