Widespread acceptance that gender bias is not only passé but also a huge waste of potential was confirmed in spades during the recent month-long build-up to WiTA’s inaugural July 5 National Female Truckie’s Day – the birthdate of legendary Australian female truckie Toots Holzheimer.
The jewel in the crown for the day was the presentation of the first ever TOOTS Award – established to recognise and celebrate the work of the nation’s female drivers – past and present.
Toots’ legendary reputation is etched in Australian transport history and the WiTA Board are delighted her family have not only given their blessing for WiTA to name these prestigious Awards in Toots’ honour but also to celebrate National Female Truckie’s Day on her July 5 birthdate.
In the campaign lead-up, hundreds of female heavy vehicle drivers from across the country joined in the spirit of the celebrations sharing selfies in and around their trucks in workplaces as diverse as the women themselves.
Both social media initiatives continue to be resoundingly successful. Late evening July 5, Facebook data analysis showed a 28-day campaign post reach of 1.7 million and a post engagement of 573,000 with a 4040 increase in page followers.
Forty-eight hours later, the on-line chatter continued with the post reach increasing by 730,000 to 2,430,000, Post engagement to 602,000 with an additional 179 new followers onboarding during that time. This through traffic underpins WiTA’s position hosting the fastest growing, most interactive social media platform in the Australian road transport sector.
The winner of the inaugural 2023 People’s Choice Toot’s Award is young Gold Coast MC heavy haulage driver Chloe Anderson. A valued member of the Dunstan Low Loader Haulage team based out of Queensland’s Gold Coast hinterland, Chloe is widely recognised for her dedication to learning the job and having a go.
Chloe says she’s incredibly fortunate to have next-level mentors and support from Dunstan management and her workmates and is honoured to be the first recipient of the prestigious TOOTS Award.
Toots’ daughter and author of “Toots – Woman in a Man’s World” Donna Vawdrey says the family is honoured to be involved in the personal lives of so many wonderful female truck drivers.
“Knowing Mum has inspired so many women over the years to pursue their passion to drive trucks and not be stymied by societal norms and expectations around gender, age, height or any other supposed limiting factor – is amazing.
“You, me and our country are blessed to have WiTA inaugurate an award to recognise the outstanding job women truckies are doing. Chloe epitomises so much of what Toots admired – in particular a ‘nothing-is-impossible’ attitude.”
In a special Ceremony early August on the Gold Coast, Donna will personally present Chloe with her TOOTS Award.
Hot off the press, the WiTA board are delighted to announce National Female Truckie’s Day and the TOOTS Awards will become the focus of the organisation’s 2024 inaugural “Driving Equality” winter conference in Adelaide.
Inspired by Toot’s remarkable legacy, the event will launch July 5 with a gala dinner and awards ceremony that will see TOOTS Awards honour and recognise outstanding industry achievements across a number of categories.
July 6 will dawn early with the largest convoy of Australian female drivers in the nation’s history, culminating in a one-day conference in Port Adelaide.
WiTA is also delighted to welcome and also thank new TOOTS Awards corporate sponsors Finlease, Linde Material Handling and the NHVR – who’s generous support will enable WiTA to continue its work to embed gender diversity as a key driver of excellence, innovation and safety across the road transport sector.
Finally, to the hundreds of thousands of visitors dropping by the WiTA Facebook page in the lead-up and throughout our July 5 celebrations, we thank you for your incredible support and your willingness to embrace gender diversity and respect for all.