What if… women were in the majority in the trucking industry?
How Different would Trucking be if it was Majority Women?
There is currently a big disparity between the number of women in the workforce and in management positions compared to the number of women in trucking. If you want to know ‘How many women are in trucking?’ here you go… According to a May 2016 article, the driver population for truckers is only 6% female, compared with women making up 44% of the full-time workforce in America. The Women in Trucking Association is a non-profit that wants to help promote trucking jobs to women. These roles can include driver positions, management at trucking companies, and other leading roles in logistics.
When we step back and imagine what the world of trucking would be like if the percentage of female truck drivers was fifty or greater, it’s easy to fall into clichés that are unfair and stereotypes of women. For decades, and still today, we think of trucking as a ‘man’s world’ of work. We don’t picture a woman rolling down the highway of a rig; we imagine a gruff looking man in overalls who only eats at diners. The truth is, the trucking industry can be just as much as woman’s world as a man’s.
To examine what the it might would look like if women in the trucking business were the majority, let’s do some psychological research for insight…
Differences between women and men
According to an article in Psychology Today, there are differences between the male and female brains in 4 areas: Processing, chemistry, structure, and blood flow and activity.
The processing differs in that male brains use about 7 times the amount of gray matter female brains use. Which means…
When men are focused on a task, they tend to experience tunnel vision and close off to the world around them. This may result in men appearing less sensitive to others when they are working. On the other hand, girls brains seem to transition between tasks more quickly than their male counterparts. So what could this mean? If there were more women in trucking industry, it might help organizations multi-task, or pursue several initiatives at once – with less organizational stress. This might also mean that the industry could become a bit warmer and friendlier. Of course, men are quite capable of being nice while focused. Keep in mind these are generalizations from a psychological study – one of thousands. We’ll get to an opposing point of view in just a moment.
While we may process the same neurochemicals, we do so to different degrees and body-brain connections that are unique to each gender. Because of these different qualities, men tend to be more restless than females, with more difficulty sitting still for longer periods of time.
Hmm… How could this give women an advantage in the trucking industry? Just kidding. Obviously, in an occupation where sitting for long periods of time can be the bulk of your job description, this can be an advantage.
Okay, these describe physical differences between the way males and female brains are actually built. According to the same article, ‘women often have a larger hippo-campus, our human memory center.’ The result of these differences is that ‘women tend to absorb more sensorial and emotive information than males do.’ In other words, women tend to use all of their senses more effectively to sense what is happening in their surroundings. Girls also tend to be more descriptive and have a larger vocabulary when describing events, as opposed to men, who use fewer words, and ‘have less connectivity between their word centers and their memories or feelings.’
This could make women more effective in describing and reporting incidents that affect transportation companies. We all know that a million things happen a day in the transportation industry. This might also result in male workers improving upon these areas as well, since they would be working side by side with more women who influence their behavior?
Blood Flow and Brain Activity
This is an area that affects emotional processing differently between the two genders. The result of these differences is that females may reflect on past emotional events more than men. Men tend to reflect for briefer periods of time before moving to their next area of focus. Men also tend to shift their focus to unrelated and unemotional things after analyzing an emotional event. Scientists believe this can explain why men are perceived to be less emotional than females, when in fact, that isn’t always true.
When you couple the blood flow and brain activity differences with the processing difference, it seems men and women could work well together in a balanced work population.
The American Psychological Association says that men and women aren’t that different than we think, however. Because society fuels the idea that there are gender differences, such as boys being better at math, and girls liking pink, we have a hard time breaking molds – such as women in the trucking industry.
What are the common misconceptions about women?
In the fight for equality in every aspect of life, not just trucking, women have had to overcome discrimination. But with their help in defeating building the US military in both world wars, women proved they could perform mechanical and logistics work with the best of em.
If we applied the sexist clichés to trucking, we could assume that if women were in charge, all trucks would be pink, and all cabs would be equipped with chocolates in case of an emotional breakdown in congested traffic. And don’t forget the perilously untrue stereotype that women aren’t better drivers. In one study, male drivers were involved in 80% of accidents that killed or seriously injured pedestrians. According to this data, maybe it wouldn’t be a stretch to state that more women truckers would equate to lower fatality accidents?
Maybe we should keep doing all we can to promote women in trucking business and driver positions and find out!