Why is there a shortage of female drivers?
There is a huge stigma surrounding female lorry drivers. There can be many reasons for this stigma, including the stereotype that females are simply ‘unable’ to fulfil a job that any man would typically do. This logic can apply to many industries, not just truck driving, such as pilots, manual labourers and members of the armed forces.
There can be many reasons as to why females are less likely to become lorry drivers, such as family life, work conditions, and the long or overnight hours. Family life can have a huge impact on why someone may or may not take work opportunities, especially in the transport and freight industries. Family life plays a role in the reasoning behind women not becoming HGV drivers because of the long hours and sometimes overnight shifts. Typically, the woman is the main caregiver in the family and so doing long hours may not be feasible for family life as a mother. In order to become a much more realistic career choice for women, the hours need to be much more flexible so that they can maintain their normal duties of their lives.
In order to combat this, many haulage companies have recognised that not all women can commit to the hours, so they have begun to think about how to improve this and have been offering part time driving hours and job shares.
Another reason why many females may not be willing to become truck drivers is due to the working conditions of many HGV drivers. This is true for both men and women in this industry. These conditions can be exaggerated for women though, as women need more accessibility due to bodily functions each month. Cleaning stations for HGV drives is also not the cleanliest, and women may be affected more by this than males. Women may also be affected by vulnerability in unlit parking areas for HGV drivers at night. Women can feel much more unsafe at night, especially in unlit surroundings and feeling safe is a minimum requirement for any job role. Therefore, not many women will be encouraged by the working conditions of HGV drivers.
Positives for female lorry drivers
Despite the negatives of HGV driving for females, the job role can be beneficial. Also, some of the reasons that females may not wish to become lorry drivers are now outdated. For example, the preconception that only men can be an HGV driver is completely outdated. There is a stereotype that only big, brawly men can drive lorries due to the size of them and the ‘difficulty’ of handling them. However, lorries nowadays are much easier to handle as most lorries now have power steering, as well as automatic gearboxes.
There is also now a lot more support for women in the transport industry. For example, there are several movements aimed at supporting female lorry drivers. These include the RHA’s initiative from 2016 ‘She’s RHA’. This initiative provides a new and welcoming culture for women in the transport industry, as it was created in order to address the shortage of female lorry drivers.
Horsepower is another movement that was founded by two female lorry drivers and aims to provide training to female truck drivers. The aims of the organisation are to prepare candidates for real-life challenges within the workplace. The company also offer taster days for women considering a career in HGV driving.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a female truck driver, please get in touch.