Today on International Women’s Day, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has taken the pledge to ‘Choose to Challenge’ and drive positive change within industry.
In 2021, there are more women in transport than ever before. While there are clear benefits and many success stories, the ATA says there is plenty more to be done to achieve gender parity and grow the female workforce.
“The trucking industry is full of amazing people and plays such a critical role in the lives of all Australians. It’s time we are recognised as a workplace of choice, and a workplace that is supportive of all people – no matter their gender,” ATA Communications Manager Emily Mills said.
“On an individual level, it can be as simple as having a real conversation. The power of encouragement, mentorship and being a role model to others cannot be underestimated.
“For businesses, it’s important to connect with your team to understand their needs and challenges. You can also look to identify what unconscious bias or barriers may exist and are potentially stopping new talent from joining you.
“And as for industry change, it is the role of the Australian Trucking Association and our members to foster strong leaders through programs like Driving Change and advocate on behalf of industry to ensure the right legislation and policies are in place to support our ambition.
“Driving change is not something that should be seen as scary or ‘too hard.’ It is something that is genuinely exciting and will have a lasting impact if you ‘Choose to Challenge’.”
Of all transport workers, 26.4 per cent are women, primarily in administration roles, with 3 per cent in the driver workforce.
“International Women’s Day is an opportunity for all of industry, from individuals to executives, to drive change from within, and the ATA is here to support them through our advocacy and national programs,” Mills said.
In February 2020, the ATA together with Teletrac Navman delivered its inaugural Driving Change diversity program, bringing together diverse industry champions from across the country to identify the barriers and outline solutions to building stronger and more inclusive workforces.
“Our group identified unconscious bias and fear of discrimination as predominant barriers to gender equality and inclusivity, followed closely by a lack of understanding and resources of how to create and maintain positive workplace cultures,” Mills said.
“Research by Teletrac Navman tells us that nearly 70 per cent of women working in transport say there are plenty of opportunities, although the same number say they have faced, or believe they will face discrimination in the workplace.
“This tells us that while there are plenty of opportunities and roles to be filled, there is a critical need to remove gender bias, smash stereotypes, and foster positive workplace cultures.”
Mills said that whilst shifting the outlook and reshaping a culture cannot happen overnight, there are plenty of small steps that can lead to big change.