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Inside the life of a woman in the trucking business


TOLEDO, Ohio (CIRCA via WNWO) — “We’re few and far between, and that’s what makes us special.”

Barbara Herman is a female truck driver, something that isn’t too common on the road.

“I love what I do, because I like to travel, and I like to be part of the elite,” she said.

Historically, few women have been truckers. Knight Transportation, a large trucking company, chalks this up to the idea that women haven’t shown a lot of interest in pursuing the vocation in the past.

According to Knight, a woman could not raise children if she wanted to while spending three weeks a month on the road, among other societal and social reasons.

“Barb, I think she’s treated very fair out there,” her manager says. “She works hard, takes care of as much work as everybody else.”

But Barb has heard some less-than-complimentary comments while on the road.

“I’ve been told that I belong at home with an apron and cooking dinners and with an apron,” she said.

However, the president of Real Women in Trucking, Inc. sees a deeper problem.

She says it has a lot to do with a mismatch between the advertised lifestyle of trucking, and the harsher realities of the job.

Barb used to travel with her husband, who was also a trucker.

“The showers were in the men’s restroom, my late husband would have to go into the showers to make sure that it was clear,” Barb said.

The U.S. desperately needs more truck drivers. And the industry's pain could hit your wallet.

But there is also a shortage of truckers in the workforce, and the shortage is growing due to an aging population of truckers.

So hiring women could be a way to alleviate the problem, as well as inspire change within trucking culture.

There is even evidence that says they are safer while on the road.

As of 2015, women made up just shy of six percent of the trucking workforce, though some are skeptical of that number because it is based on census data, and truckers are rarely home to pick up their mail.

“I hold two pictures in my head,” Barb said. “One is the picture of my late husband’s truck. It is wrapped around a bridge just south of Atlanta Georgia. The other is the photograph of my family and that’s the reason why I do what I do, and I do it as safely as I can.

“When he hit that bridge, that truck folded up like an accordion. Chances are I would have been in the bunk sleeping. Trucking is where my heart’s at, and it’s what he taught me and I can’t deny that.”

With any luck, women will slowly gain footing in the workforce. in the meantime, Barb is going to keep on truckin’.


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