The Department of Labour data indicates that just 7.8 percent of truck drivers are women, but in an industry that has, historically, been male-dominated, drivers such as Katheryn “Kitty” Gonzalez are making their mark.
And in honor of International Women’s Day – which globally celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women – we here at Truline want to recognize that.
A driver for eight years, Kitty has been with Truline for nearly four of them. In 2020, she was named Driver of the Year.
“For the first four years of my career I did team Over the Road and when we’d stop at Stateline, we’d see Truline trucks fueling and would ask different drivers their route, home time, and what their opinions were and always heard good things. [I liked how they said they were home] every day, if not every other.”
Being a driver prepares you for uncertainties in life, says Kitty, noting crazy weather, mishaps with vehicle malfunctions, and tire blowouts as just a few of those uncertainties. “I myself came in with no knowledge on how to maintain a vehicle let alone an 80′ tractor and trailer and have learned a lot and still learning to this day.”
So why did she stick with it, despite the huge learning curve? “It’s good money and you get to explore the country,” she says.
Ellen Voie, president and CEO of Women in Trucking, says the number of female drivers needs to be challenged – and changed. And here at Truline, we couldn’t agree more.
She founded Women in Trucking in 2007, and since then, has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and bring about change in a male-dominated industry that all too often, discounts the abilities of women and the contributions they can make.
“Women bring a different perspective to the workplace, whether it’s in the cab of a truck or the corner office,” said Voie. “First, women are more risk-averse. This means that women are safer commercial drivers because we avoid risk such as speeding, distracted driving or unsafe operation. In the board room, women explore each decision with risk in mind, and are less likely to rush into a decision such as an acquisition or other activity involving risk.”
Further to this, explains Voie, numerous studies have proven that a more diverse workforce is a more profitable one, so by bringing women’s voices to the table, it allows decision-makers to gain broader perspectives.
For Kitty, knowing she can lean on fellow drivers – male or female – means a lot. There’s a certain peace of mind that comes with knowing if you need help when you’re on the road you can get it, she says.
“We travel to almost the same places every day along with other co-drivers; if you are in need of coolant or anything that another driver could possibly have, dispatch will make phone calls to other drivers in the area of heading your way to help.”
For the most part, she says, drivers work as a unit and dispatch works with drivers to ensure they get home when they want to.
“If we get stuck or can’t make [the] next load, they switch loads around to help you keep running if you want, or adjust arrival times for appointments. They will within their power help you return home as soon as they can knowing we don’t want to stay out longer than needed.”
At Truline, we’re taking action to ensure all drivers – including women – feel safe and at home within our company. Paul Truman, Truline President, outlines just a few ways we’re accomplishing this.
“The switch to automated transmissions helps to make the environment more conducive to women,” he says. “The switch from heavy manual unloading to having lumper services unload the trailers is also helpful because the job is not so physical. Moving from curtain-sided trailers to dry vans has also made it a better job for women.”
“We also have a new PTO program, which makes it easier to take time off in the first year of employment, in addition to our normal flexibility in allowing time off.”
Becoming a professional driver with Truline offers stability, security, flexibility, and a fantastic income.
“There are very few jobs where a female entering the profession can earn up to $75,000 per year without extensive education,” says Truman. “Driving at Truline has been a great way for a woman to support her family.”
If you’d like to become a driver with Truline, check out our job postings today, and let’s get started!