Women in Trucking Association Founder Recognized for Contributions

Women In Trucking Association founder Ellen Voie was honored recently at the White House for her contributions to promoting the trucking industry. Voie was chosen as one of the weekly recipients of the Champions of Change award. Each week a different focus or theme is chosen. Voie and 13 others were honored for their work in the transportation field.

Women In Trucking was started in 2007 to encourage more women to consider careers in the trucking industry. The Association also works to address issues that adversely impact women such as harassment and inadequate restroom facilities on the road. Voie currently serves as President and CEO of the group. The organization has over 2,000 members, 16 percent of whom are men.

Women In Trucking is an international organization with members in Europe, North America and Australia. Voie has traveled extensively to build partnerships with local organizations in Europe and Australia. Driver shortages are a problem in many areas of the world, and women drivers face many of the same obstacles regardless of where they work.

Ray LaHood, Transportation Secretary, praised the honorees for their leadership abilities and innovation in solving transportation problems. LaHood pointed out that resolving transportation issues leads to increased employment opportunities and a higher quality of life.

Voie was introduced by Ann Ferro who serves as administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Agency. Voie, a private pilot, participated in a panel discussion run by Michael Huerta of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Along with providing encouragement for women to enter the industry and working to address issues faced by women in transportation, the Association also recognizes the accomplishments of women in the industry. In 2011 a new organization, the Women In Trucking Scholarship Foundation, was created to assist women in pursuing transportation-related educations.

Although 95 percent of all truck drivers are men, many women work in the motor carrier industry as dispatchers, clerical workers, mechanics and owners. About 200,000 women work as drivers in the U.S.

Female drivers face all the same job-related challenges as male drivers, and they also have some gender-specific hurdles. For women in the industry safety issues are a big concern. Like women in any profession, women truck drivers must be cautious about placing themselves in potentially dangerous situations.

For the female trucker this can be particularly tricky. Warehouses may be located in questionable areas of cities. Solo female drivers are out on the road at all hours of the day and night. Women drivers must be vigilant about their surroundings at all times to avoid becoming crime victims.

Addressing safety issues, harassment and discrimination in the trucking industry is a big part of the Association’s mission. By alleviating the negative challenges for women drivers, Women In Trucking hopes to encourage more females to enter the industry. Voie’s recognition at the White House is a testament to the need for, and success of, her organization.

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