According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up 47% of the U.S. workforce, but only 6% of American truckers. With the American Transportation Research Institute reporting a shortage of approximately 50,000 drivers - why are there not more women truck drivers?
Mona Chisum, an experienced driver for TP Trucking, shared her insights:
“I've driven most [types] of trucks including log trucks, dump trucks, belly dumps, flatbeds, and all vans. Working in a male-dominant profession there will be times you'll be scoffed and sneered at, or hear someone say, ‘Here little lady, let me do that for you.’ But if you politely thank them for the offer and calmly do the task, you'll gain a lot of respect and pride in your accomplishments. Swearing like a sailor or giving rude hand gestures will only bring about low opinions by your fellow drivers. My mom always said, ‘Act like a lady and you'll be treated like one,’ and 99% of the time she is right. For the other 1%, just ignore them.”
Tips for Women Interested in Trucking Jobs
- Choose a CDL school with a mix of men and women on staff.
- Ask for on-the-road training with a female trainer.
- Advocate for a vehicle package that includes features that are important to you to be successful.
Mona Chisum also recommends taking the time to learn all aspects of the job: loading, unloading, city driving, night driving, and inclement weather driving. Her top tip: practice difficult backing. “Choose a truck stop in the middle of the day and practice blind side backing in 2 or 3 spots. Someday, you may have to do this and all the practice will come in handy. The more you do, the more confident you'll be, thus the more you'll enjoy your job.”
Chisum, a truck driver for more than 27 years, takes the time to help other drivers whenever possible. “I've learned a lot by helping other drivers, little pieces of information that came in handy down the road,” she said.
“Very few professions offer the opportunity to see so much of our great nation and get paid to do it,” she said. “I can't imagine doing anything else.”