Women Behind the Wheel

Women have been driving trucks a long time. Take a look at Lillie Drennan. According to historical archives, in 1929, she was the first woman to climb up in a cab and take to the road with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). She later became the first female owner of a truck line.

There are some funny stories about Drennan, like how she would carry a revolver everywhere she went. She was a pioneer. While other women would eventually follow, it would literally take decades. As noted by Truckers Report online, in the 1960s, unions and working conditions made it tough for women to find viable work. It was “a male-dominated” field.

The “Women in Trucking Association” is a nonprofit organization that encourages the employment of women in the trucking industry, promotes their accomplishments, and minimizes obstacles faced by women who want to drive trucks.

“Some say it’s because of the national driver shortage, and others say it’s because of rising wages, but the fact remains that there are more women in the driver’s seats of big rigs now than ever before. In fact, the percentage of women in trucking (versus men) has more than doubled since 1990. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women made up only about 2.1 percent of truckers in 1990, but in 2012, they were up to about 5.4 percent,” as published by Women In Trucking. “These numbers may not seem drastic, but considering we’re talking about thousands of truck drivers, that’s pretty significant.”

Desiree Wood, President of REAL Women in Trucking, says it used to be that only one in six women who took the CDL test passed. “The number of women in the trucking industry is going up, but they could be even higher if women got the support they need to make it through CDL training as well as their first year of commercial driving.”

And that support is arriving by the truckload. More and more organizations and employers, like Millis Transfer, are stepping up to help support and encourage women in the field. “There’s no reason women can’t do the job. Technology is making it more driver-friendly for everyone so it’s not as physically demanding,” Ellen Voie, President and CEO of Women in Trucking Association said.

About Millis Transfer
Mills Transfer, Getting It There Since 1936, has an impressive service record earning the company dozens of “Carrier of the Year” awards. Headquartered in Black River Falls, Wis., Millis is also a Certified Top Pay Carrier with some of the best equipment on the road. Maintenance facilities and drop yards are strategically located throughout the company’s operating area. Its sister company, Millis Training Institute, offers five school locations that provide students with quality training in order to earn their CDL-A license. For more information please visit www.millistransfer.com, www.mtidriving.com or call 1-800-937-0880.


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