Woman truck drivingThere is no doubt that trucking is a male-dominated industry. So, women may be hesitant to consider a career as a trucker. There are dangerous stretches of road, isolated places to stay, and a lot of technical know-how. What is more, it can feel intimidating to get your foot in the door in a place where you have few peers that are similar to you.

Women make up almost half the labor force, but as of 2016, only made up 11.4 percent of workers in the trucking industry. And even fewer — 6 percent — were actually truck drivers, rather than employees fulfilling other transportation tasks.

Of course, having knowledge about cars or doing hard work are not inherently masculine things, and there is no reason why women can’t do them. So, what is it really like being a female trucker?

You Get Equal Pay

If you are concerned about the implications of being a female worker in a male-dominated field, you can rest easy: truckers of both sexes are paid based on miles covered, hours worked, or loads hauled. It is illegal to discriminate against employees based on sex. Female truckers might be concerned that their pay will be docked if they struggle to perform physical tasks like truck repairs. However, the pay is not calculated on such a scale, so you will be sure that you will be paid what you are owed.

You Have a Support Network

There may be a comparatively small number of female truck drivers, but that does not mean you are without support. There are several organizations for female truckers to support one another and to offer advice and creative solutions to the unique challenges that face them in the industry. These networks include REAL Women in Trucking and the Women in Trucking Association.

You Need to Be Willing to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Women can do anything they set their minds to, but that does not mean they always have the necessary experience. Becoming a truck driver means you will have to challenge yourself to do things that you might not know how to do. This includes doing some repairs on your truck — especially unexpected ones, like a piece of metal sticking out where it shouldn’t.

It can also mean learning to rough it. Truckers need to be ready to sleep wherever they are and sometimes go without showers or seeing other people for several days at a time. This does not just apply to female truck drivers, but it can be an unexpected part of the job!

You May Face Discrimination or Harassment

The sad truth of a woman entering a male-dominated industry like trucking is that she may be mistreated by her coworkers. In the past, these issues were glossed over or concealed, even when they were reported to management. However, networks like REAL Women in Trucking now provide safety nets for women who are harassed on the job.

You Will Have to Be Prepared for Unsafe Situations

One aspect of working in the trucking industry causes more challenges for women. Truckers often find themselves in seedy or isolated places. For most men, they do not necessarily pose a danger. However, female truckers may feel unsafe if they are stranded on the side of the road or staying in a lonely truck stop overnight. Truck stops are frequently the location of drug deals or prostitution, so they are not places to let down your guard.

Even though there are challenges facing women in the trucking industry, there are also many benefits. As time marches on, women truckers will continue to be recognized for their worth in a male-dominated field.