Historically a male-dominated industry, the road transport sector is beginning to see the emergence of greater numbers of women into trucking positions as cultural ideologies begin to challenge traditional gender roles.
The industry as a whole is doing great work on the gender diversity front, with recruiters and board room discussions now recognising increased representation of women as a clear imperative. It’s a far cry from the not-too-distant past, when ambitious wannabe female drivers were largely invisible – dismissed on paper before they even made it to interview stage.
Today, government-funded initiatives and companies focussing on equity and inclusion are making great inroads – not only in recruiting but also retaining their female heavy vehicle drivers.
It’s evident that a convergence of women hungry for opportunities to take the wheel and a sector-wide cultural shift is seeing an ecological evolution.
It’s incredibly encouraging to see so many companies not only delivering female-centric training programs but also working to create safe, inclusive and supportive work environments that provide opportunities for female career growth and development.
Large employers like QUBE, Cleanaway, Chill, Hanson, Followmont, Linfox, Australia Post and SEQH are to be commended for stepping outside the traditional male talent pool and exploring new approaches to recruitment.
Volvo Australia continues its great work supporting organisations delivering female heavy vehicle driver training initiatives. The Queensland Trucking Association and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations also run training and recruitment initiatives supporting women into non-traditional roles, and great work is being done by the HVIA and the Australian Logistics Council to seek an industry-wide exemption from anti-discrimination commissions with a view to allowing all of industry to advertise roles for “female-only applicants”.
Clearly there are green shoots appearing everywhere as companies and organisations move past gender equity lip service and begin to turn good intentions into concrete action.
Weathering the storm of being a woman in a male-dominated industry is not easy. We know that women having other women around to discuss challenges and share lessons they’ve learned along the way propels them forward.
In filling this void, Women in Trucking Australia (WiTA) also continues to do its bit by providing much-needed access to resources and support in addition to working with stakeholders to give women the capacity and confidence to reach their full potential.
WiTA strongly believe that championing diversity and inclusion in the workplace through the recognition of women as a vital untapped resource not only makes great business sense, it also makes great common sense as increased female participation delivers a range of diverse perspectives and a plethora of lived experience and ideas.
Men and women are equally capable of developing truck driving skills and in 21st century Australia, no vocation should be viewed as the realm of a specific gender. Professional truckies are born out of an individual’s willingness to develop and grow with the guidance and support of colleges and senior management.
Companies are now actively listening, creating more flexible work environments as they develop a greater understanding of the challenges women face when combining work and family. The roadmap to accommodating these challenges has finally been taken out of the glovebox – with recruiters now taking on board the female perspective, implementing their recommendations and building workplaces where they feel safe, empowered and understood.
The sun is beginning to come out from behind the clouds. Great progress is now being made, and the misogyny pipeline is gradually being stemmed, further strengthening the flow of female talent into the sector. There is now widespread agreeance that we will get there – if we all go together.