Women In Trucking Association
Wit White House Listening Session

WIT advocates for same-gender training solutions

Jan. 20, 2022
During a White House listening session, the Women In Trucking Association discussed asset-based trucking companies that can institute same-gender training policies.

The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) coordinated with the Biden-Harris administration to host a White House roundtable listening session on Jan. 13 with nearly 40 industry professionals to hear perspectives on how to build a more inclusive and equitable workplace for women in trucking.

Of the 40 participants, seven were female professional truck drivers, and three were nominated by WIT. According to Ellen Voie, president and CEO of WIT, a topic that was of high priority was focused around the same-gender training policies with asset-based trucking companies. 

“This is one of the issues that continues to plague our industry and is unique only to the trucking industry,” Voie said during the session. “The industry continues to place women in an environment that has the potential to encourage sexual harassment and even rape by forcing them to sleep in a sleeper berth for days at a time with trainers who likely are males. There is no other market segment in transportation that mixes genders in a training situation where a bed is within inches of the trainer and trainee, and the two are expected to sleep in tight quarters of each other each night.”

See also: WIT, FMCSA's Joshi address trucking's harassment problem

The same-gender training issue is of serious concern to professional drivers, Voie said. In fact, WIT recently conducted a survey of more than 400 professional drivers, which shows that 42% were aware of a female driver who has either experienced sexual assault or harassment when sharing a cab with a trainer who was a member of the opposite gender. Approximately 63% said they felt a same-gender training policy would encourage more women as drivers, which is significant given the seriousness of the current driver shortage and how more females are becoming professional truck drivers. 

Voie cited several examples in which trucking companies have not been able or willing to accommodate the same gender trainer as the new employee. However, in one instance, a large motor carrier implemented a same-gender training policy, and their cases of sexual harassment accusations dropped significantly. According to Voie, several companies are already adopting this practice as a solution to the issue.

Voie has been advocating for trucking companies to adopt a same-gender training policy that enables female professional drivers to have the option for a same-gender trainer when involved in on-the-road training activities. 

When having a same-gender trainer isn’t an option in instances involving female drivers, there also are alternatives to help reduce or eliminate issues, such as ensuring that when sleeping arrangements need to be made one of the parties has the ability to have a paid hotel room available to avoid the need to sleep together in the same cab.

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