Ellen Voie is being honored as a Champion of Change for her time and effort developing innovative ways to help grow and expand the transportation industry.
When you hear the words “truck driver,” you probably imagine a big, burly guy wearing a ball cap, with a tattoo below the sleeve of his t-shirt. While it is true that 95 percent of professional drivers are men, there are nearly 200,000 female big rig drivers in the United States.
We don’t often associate women working in the very male dominated trucking industry. However, women not only drive the trucks, many design the trucks, fix the trucks, dispatch the trucks and own the trucks. Many others work in various roles within the trucking industry.
But not enough. The Women In Trucking Association was formed to encourage women to consider careers within the trucking industry, but we also work to address obstacles that women (and men) face that might keep them from succeeding. Another focus of our mission is to celebrate the accomplishments of women who have been role models and leaders in the trucking industry.
In only five years, we have grown to represent over 2,000 women AND men from North America, Australia and Europe who support our mission. Although the challenges women face are similar to men’s, our priorities are different. Safety and security are a primary focus, as well as amenities and harassment on the road.
We are working to change that, and to encourage an environment where women can work and feel safe while they earn a comparable salary to that of their male peers. But we still have a long way to go and my hope is that more women will find a career in this industry.
I am honored to be recognized as a Transportation Innovator Champion of Change, but my admiration is for the women who work in the trucking industry and have not received the appreciation they deserve.
Ellen Voie is CEO of the Women In Trucking Association.