Editor’s note: Schneider is a proud member of the Women In Trucking Association — and we were one of the first corporate members. The work that Ellen Voie champions is important to all those who work in the transportation industry. This post is republished with permission from womenintrucking.org.
In 2007 a group of influential, successful women met in Las Vegas to create a mission statement for a new organization called “Women In Trucking (WIT).” These women knew what it was like to be outnumbered at every industry event where they would search the room for another female to make a connection. Their goal was simple, to increase the number of women employed in trucking, from driver to board member, diversity was the challenge.
Although women are still a minority in trucking, the Women In Trucking Association is moving the needle. In the past ten years, we’ve made great strides in increasing the ranks of women through numerous initiatives. To name a few….
The Girl Scout (Girl Guide) Transportation Patch was created in cooperation with the Greater Chicago/Northern Indiana Girl Scouts. The curriculum guide is available only from the Women In Trucking Association. Numerous troops across North America have been able to see a truck close up and learn about careers as drivers, managers and other roles in transportation.
The Salute to Women Behind the Wheel is held each year in conjunction with the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. Hundreds of female commercial drivers are honored at this event and last year at our first celebration in Canada.
The Influential Woman in Trucking and the Distinguished Woman in Logistics are annual awards to honor women who are role models and pioneers in both trucking and supply chain.
The Women In Trucking Scholarship Foundation was established to provide funding for training in transportation, including safety, technical and leadership areas as well as for commercial driving opportunities. Tens of thousands of dollars have been given to students pursuing careers in trucking.
Based on feedback from female drivers, WIT has influenced the design of truck cabs with the manufacturers who are seeking ways to accommodate women with a more ergonomic design inside the cab. The goal is adaptability so female drivers are as comfortable as their male counterparts and design changes will allow more women to become professional drivers.
The Women In Trucking Image Team was created to showcase professional female drivers, safety managers, recruiters and trainers to those outside of the industry. These woman have appeared on panels, attended trade shows, spoken at school functions and have provided ride-alongs with such influential people as the Federal Motor Carrier Administrator and Deputy Administrator, the National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman, Senators, Congressmen, journalists and even a safety advocate. The Image Team is a very special way to highlight successful women in trucking.
In order to be able to monitor the increase in women employed in trucking, the association has partnered with the National Transportation Institute to create a WIT Index. Results will be based on quarterly surveys with motor carriers in the U.S. Currently, while the U.S. Department of Labor reports a 5.1 percent for female commercial drivers, their figures are not based on over-the-road statistics. The average percentage of female drivers reported through the WIT Index is seven percent, and includes only over-the-road drivers in the data.
The WIT Index information will then be used to find industry leaders and gather the information for a “Best Practices” guide to attracting and retaining female drivers. This guide, along with the Anti-Harassment Employment Guide and the WIT Recruiting Guide, are all resources available at no charge to our corporate members.
In 2015, WIT held its first annual Accelerate! Conference and Expo created to promote gender diversity and provide best practices. Over 400 men and women participated in the event last year, which brought executives and drivers together with vendors, manufacturers and educators in an event that offered insight, education and networking opportunities.
Ten years ago, the Women In Trucking Association was only an idea advanced by Founder and President, Ellen Voie. Now, the organization includes more than 4,000 members in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, South Africa, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. In 2012, the organization was recognized by the White House as being a “Transportation Innovator, Champion of Change.”
In ten years, the dues have remained the same. Individuals and companies who join today pay the same rate as in 2007. However, this will change in the coming year as we provide more value to our members.
Future goals include a truck give-away in 2018, donated by Arrow Truck Sales. A partnership with Feeding America and Truckstop.com will further advance the image of the trucking industry by providing transportation for food donations and helping feed hungry families across America. A truck driver doll is in the planning stages so young girls can become comfortable with the idea that girls CAN drive trucks!
As the Women In Trucking Association celebrates its tenth anniversary, it is transforming the industry with new ideas, perspectives, goals and lots of information for anyone who believes in promoting diversity in transportation. This year, with a new, anniversary logo and the tag line, “steering toward diversity,” we begin a new decade focused on continuing the mission created in 2007 which is simply to increase the number of women employed in trucking.
To join us, visit www.womenintrucking.org and become a member today.