The trucking industry has been a male-dominated field for many years. In the past 10 years, the number of women in the trucking industry has grown significantly. As of 2020, women made up 47% of the trucking industry’s workforce, which included 23% of all managerial roles and 10% of all drivers. Although there is room for more growth in the inclusion of women in the trucking industry, the increasing number of women currently in the force is encouraging. Pantusa Towing is proud to be owned and led by a strong woman, Dorian Pantusa. We celebrate the growing women workforce in trucking and encourage others to consider joining the force.
First Female Truck Driver: Luella Bates
Luella Bates became the first female truck driver in 1918. World War I allowed many women opportunities to venture into male dominated jobs. After the war ended, many women in all sorts of fields were let go to make room for the returning soldiers. Luella was such a skilled driver and mechanic that she was able to continue her job. She even handled all her own truck’s maintenance. In a field that women had never been given a chance in, Luella carved out a space for herself among the men and paved the way for future female truckers later.
First Licensed Female Truck Driver and Towing Company Owner: Lillie Elizabeth Drennan
Just 10 years later, Lillie Elizabeth Drennan started a towing company with her husband during the oil boom. Lillie earned her commercial truck-driver’s license in 1929. Eventually, she became the sole owner of the trucking company. Since Pantusa Towing was started by a husband and wife team as well, we are grateful for the inspiration of these trucking pioneers.
Women have had to overcome obstacles to find their place in the trucking industry. Even simple things such as trucks being built for people of taller stature have required accommodations to help many female drivers be comfortable for long driving stretches and reach the pedals. One of the greatest champions of female truck drivers is Ellen Voie, the CEO and Founder of a non-profit organization called Women in Trucking Association. She formed WIT in 2007 with the goals of helping female truckers secure jobs in the industry, overcome challenges, and be celebrated in a supportive community. Ellen has become a motivational speaker and advocate for trucker women all over the world. She was even honored at the White House in 2012.
The American Trucking Association has noted that there is a great shortage of truckers, over 60,000 as of 2018. Greater access and accommodation can allow women to be part of the solution. If you are interested in working for a towing company who appreciates and celebrates diversity, apply to Pantusa Towing. We welcome women to join our woman-owned business!