Photo: Ruslan Galiullin/Dreamstime
Woman Truck Driver Ruslan Galiullin Dreamstime

Women in trucking receive government support from bipartisan bill

March 8, 2021
In partnership with the Women In Trucking Association, an advisory board will be created to identify, report, and address ways to increase the ranks of women in the trucking industry.

Originally introduced in November 2019, the “Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act” has taken the front seat in direct partnership with the Women In Trucking Association (WIT) to create an advisory committee dedicated to identifying, reporting, and addressing ways to increase the ranks of women in the trucking industry.

WIT, formed in 2007, encourages the employment of women in the trucking industry, addresses obstacles and celebrates the success of its members.

“This legislation not only aligns with WIT’s goals, but it has been an important and urgent objective for years, and today we are celebrating this success,” said WIT President and CEO Ellen Voie. “Although women have strengthened their presence in the supply chain in the past few years, we know there are still issues that cause women to reject a transportation career. Our goal is to better identify these concerns and address them to create a more diverse industry.”

Sen. Jerry Moran from Kansas recognized the need to address women’s inequity at the federal level and re-introduced the 2019 bill on Feb. 26.

“Over the past year, we have relied on the essential service the trucking industry provides to transport critical resources to Kansas and across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Moran said. “This sensible and bipartisan legislation will lead to new job opportunities for women and promote equality for those who are currently working in the trucking industry.”

In the Act’s findings, the U.S. Congress determined that while 47% of the workforce in the U.S. comprises women, only 24% work in transportation and warehousing jobs, 6.6% are truck drivers, 12.5% of all workers in truck transportation, and 8% of freight firm owners.

“Given the total number of women truck drivers, women are underrepresented in the truck driving workforce, and women truck drivers have been shown to be 20% less likely than male counterparts to be involved in a crash,” the Act stated.

To encourage women to enter the field of trucking, the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will establish and facilitate an advisory board, to be known as the “Women of Trucking Advisory Board,” which will promote organizations and programs that will provide education, training, mentorship or outreach to women in the trucking industry as well as recruit women into the trucking industry.

The Women of Trucking Advisory Board will be tasked with identifying:

  • Industry trends that directly or indirectly discourage women from pursuing careers in trucking, including any differences between women minority groups, women who live in rural, suburban and urban areas, and any safety risks unique to the trucking industry.
  • Ways in which the functions of trucking companies, nonprofit organizations and trucking associations may be coordinated to facilitate support for women pursuing careers in trucking.
  • Opportunities to expand existing opportunities for women in the trucking industry.
  • Opportunities to enhance trucking training, mentorship, education, and outreach programs that are exclusive to women.

Within the first 270 days of the Act, there shall be no fewer than one representative from large, mid-sized, small trucking companies, nonprofit organizations in trucking, trucking business associations, independent owner-operators in addition to a professional woman truck driver chosen as part of the advisory board, who shall be appointed for the life of the board. 

Once the advisory board completes its analysis, it will submit a report to the FMCSA no later than 18 months after the date the Act is enacted. No later than six months after that report is submitted, FMCSA will submit a report to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives stating any strategies recommended by the Board and any actions taken by the FMCSA to adopt those strategies.

The reintroduction of this act came just in time for March Women’s History Month, reinforcing WIT’s mission of bringing gender diversity to the transportation industry. To round out the month, WIT will be announcing its Top Women to Watch in Transportation on March 22.

“This bill will help us create a more female-friendly environment in supply chain careers so we can not only attract and retain, but promote women in trucking,” Voie said. “We have spent more than a decade working on these issues with little government support, so we are happy to elevate our efforts to the federal level.”

About the Author

Catharine Conway | Digital Editor

Catharine Conway previously wrote for FleetOwner with a Master of Science in Publishing degree and more than seven years’ experience in the publishing and editorial industries. Based in Stamford, Conn., she was critical to the coordination of any and all digital content organization and distribution through various FleetOwner and American Trucker channels, including website, newsletters, and social media. 

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