What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear those two words that seem so simple? Do you find yourself pondering all of the stereotypes you’ve heard about this profession? Is the first image that comes to mind a man with a greasy shirt at a dirty truck stop, looking like a shower was a thing of the past?
Well, put on your seat belts people because that just isn’t the case these days! The professional trucking industry is just that – PROFESSIONAL. Back to those out of date and ill-informed stereotypes…imagine how women in this industry feel…that’s right; there are thousands of professional ruck drivers who are FEMALE! Since trucking has traditionally been thought of as a male profession, does society still question the ability and commitment of our women truck drivers who are stepping up?
Let’s see what Roadmaster Drivers School Student, Judy Rahim, would like to tell all the naysayers…………..
“This is the New Face of trucking, so get used to it!”
Judy Rahim (@freespriitjr)– Roadmaster Student
Judy is a warm-hearted and humbled woman, who spends her weekdays as a special needs school teacher and for the last four weekends, a CDL trainee at Roadmaster Drivers School. Judy has demonstrated that she has more than what it takes to compete in trucking’s male dominated trade. Judy is on her way to a whole new career and wants to share her #DrivingAmbition with others in hopes to empower more women to do the same!
Roadmaster – What made you decide to train for your CDL License at Roadmaster Drivers School?
Judy Rahim – Well, I would say that my main deciding factor was weekend classes being available. I work all week as a teacher, so it helps having that option to get my CDL.
RM –What’s the biggest personal challenge for you while attending Roadmaster?
JR – The biggest challenge for me right now is the 30 days in a row between work and school. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s 4 weeks away!
RM – What’s the one thing that’s stood out to you so far?
JR – The actual sitting in a truck, I sat in one before, but I never got to drive it! It’s definitely empowering once you know how to drive it, you feel like a bad ass!
RM – Do you feel like your instructors are properly preparing you for your new career?
JR – To me, it comes down to my own self-motivation and drive. I mean, they’re giving me all the tools. Showing me how to do this, and how to do that. I’m learning how to prepare for the Pre-test at the DMV, the air brakes and the driving. So yes, they’re preparing me for everything.
RM – Who was your instructor?
JR – My instructors name is Kevin. He is awesome! He’s no joke, doesn’t get all crazy. That’s a lot of stress sitting in that truck with all of those crazy people driving, and he handles it like a pro.
RM – How has Kevin helped you?
JR – He’s helped me in positive ways, in helpful ways, but not in a critical way. He doesn’t talk down to me because I’m a woman, He’s been very motivating, very positive and always tells me I can do it, you got this. Kevin is a great instructor and I’m thankful for mentorship.
RM – What would you tell the next person attending Roadmaster Drivers School to expect?
JR – Yeah, it’s definitely a lot to swallow. Having to get your permit in 3 days is hard. If someone didn’t give me the training manual out of the blue, I don’t think I would have passed it that quick. So make sure you prepare
RM – You made a comment earlier about someone at the DMV saying you don’t look like a truck driver. What would you like to say to people who make those types of comments?
JR – A woman at the DMV said to me, “Well, you don’t look like a trucker”! So I asked her, what does a trucker look like? Then I told her that “This IS the New Face of Trucking, get used to it”!
To further understand the struggle that women endure in trucking today, let’s look back at how we got here!
Luella Bates – courtesy of Wikipedia.org
Luella Bates was the first professional woman truck driver ever in the United States. Luella started out at the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company in 1918 during the First World War, driving throughout Wisconsin in a Model B truck. Most of the female drivers were let go after the war with, Luella being an exception. In 1920, a marketing campaign was launched with Bates as the poster child to demonstrate that a truck was so easy, that a woman could drive it. With the number of women drivers climbing at a rapid pace, will women ever be accepted into the professional truck driving profession with open arms?
We asked Aura Hall, School Director @ Roadmaster Drivers School (Tampa), how important are women drivers to the trucking industry?
“Our women students are teachers, housewives, burnt out bus drivers, and some arrive as a couple with their husband to team drive. It’s our job to help women understand that companies like Wal-Mart are looking ahead to the benefits of women drivers”. Hall added, “By nature, we as women tend to be better at following safety rules, the attention to detail, our customer skills via presentation and interaction are better, a fresh perspective in regards to planning around bad traffic or weather, and we don’t waste time playing the video games at the truck stops”!
According to Ellen Voie CAE, President/CEO/Founder of Women in Trucking, (@WomenInTrucking) “The Census bureau shows 5.2% for 2009, which are the latest figures available. I would guess it’s closer to six percent by now”. With more and more women entering the professional trucking industry, time will only tell if the days of women being told they’re “too pretty” for this type of work will be a thing in the past. At Roadmaster, we are proud of our female students and graduates and encourage the strong women of today to get into the drivers seat! A career as a professional driver in the trucking industry offers the same pay whether male or female!
Let’s keep this going and empower more women to try new things! Share this story!
*wage information provided by Werner Enterprises