History of Women in the Trucking Industry

Women Who Made their Mark in Trucking

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Advanced Career Institute would like to acknowledge the hard work and pioneering spirit of some of the trucking industry’s most notable women. These bold and determined ladies paved the way for those to come, transforming the entire industry in the process. Women still only make up around 5% of the trucking workforce, but that number is steadily climbing as more women rise to the challenge and earn their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

Trailblazing Women

Luella Bates was the pioneer who first showed the world what women could do behind the wheel. During WWII, women had to step into traditionally male jobs to fill the vacancies left by the war. Luella was such an excellent truck driver that she stayed on after the war ended, often outperforming her male counterparts.

Next came Lillie Drennan. With her 10-gallon hat and loaded revolver, she was quite an intimidating figure. She became the first licensed female truck driver, and the first woman to own her own fleet. Lillie was also a staunch advocate for gender and racial equality. She personally hired and trained her diverse and exceptionally safe workforce.

Adriesue “Bitsy” Gomez followed in their footsteps. Bitsy formed the Coalition of Women Truck Drivers to combat the pervasive sexism in trucking culture. Through victories in the courts and successful public relations campaigns, Bitsy helped break-down the barriers that were keeping women out of trucking.

Why Women Should Obtain a CDL

Thanks to women like Luella, Lillie, and Bitsy, the trucking industry now welcomes female drivers. Young women just entering the workforce, or those who find themselves job-searching after a lifestyle change (such as divorce, empty nest, or job loss), may consider trucking as a possibility.

Forward-thinking companies recognize this trend and are doing more to recruit and retain female truckers. Truck manufacturers are redesigning cabs and other equipment to accommodate the typically smaller frames of women, leading to greater comfort and less risk of injury. Women in trucking also have a strong support network, meaning they no longer have to face obstacles and hardships alone.

Now is the perfect time for women to take charge and get behind the wheel. It takes a lot of grit and toughness to succeed as a commercial truck driver, but thanks to the bold female drivers of the past, we know women can do it just as well as men can. Are you ready to earn your CDL? Advanced Career Institute is ready to help make that happen!