We’re not there yet.

A recent article about FMCSA Administrator, Anne Ferro, prompted numerous responses, but they weren’t all about the issue itself.  Instead, the topic turned to gender and how the reader felt that Ms. Ferro was not qualified to head the administration because she is a woman.

I checked my calendar and it IS 2014, isn’t it?  Can’t we get beyond the issue of gender?  Apparently, we’re not there yet.  Mr. Smith (obviously a pseudo name) claims “women getting into politics and other issues … are guiding us down, down, down.”

When a female posted a response, Mr. Smith responded with an attack, “Another dumb statement from a female trying to protect females.” This was met with agreement from another (male) commenter who responded with, “typical feminist overstatement.  Any criticism of a woman is evil and any criticism of a man is warranted.”

While I agree that anonymous remarks on a website have no credibility, they do reinforce the need for Women In Trucking Association to continue our mission to encourage and support the women in this industry.

I would like to acknowledge that gender does not create a bias in our work place anymore; however, we’re not there yet.

I have a voice message on my phone that I keep to remind me that there are still many men who feel that women have no place in the trucking industry.  While these guys are a very small minority, they are often very vocal about their opinions.  The caller was very upset to discover that there is an organization that exists to increase the presence of women in the trucking industry.

“I don’t know why you have this d*amn Women In Trucking crap. I’ve never met more ruder people,” the caller claimed.  He continued, “I don’t know what kind of organization, or what kind of crap this is, but if’s a place for uncaring, rude a** women drivers to get together to have fun, I hope you all enjoy yourselves.”

This driver was angry and it was apparent in his message that he felt ALL women were rude.  No, we’re not there yet.  

An email from another (male) driver claimed that, “women are playing where men are trying to make a living.” Does he really believe that the women in this industry aren’t here for work related reasons?

Ask most female drivers how their peers treat them and many of them will tell you that they have heard the comment, “you should be at home, barefoot and pregnant.”  Really?

I can appreciate the fact that many of these men feel threatened by strong, capable women, but to make that statement out loud is disheartening.

Drivers at trade shows who encourage us and support our efforts often approach us.  Most of these men WANT more women in the industry and feel that their female peers are capable and often tell me they do a better job then men.  Thank you, guys, for your positive attitude.

I got a little insight into the reason some drivers have an issue with women behind the wheel.  A male revealed his concern that as a macho guy who could maneuver 80,000 pounds behind a big engine, his ego was deflated whenever he saw a woman doing the same thing.  Really?

To those few, vocal, angry male drivers who want women to disappear, we wish you the best and ask that you keep your comments to yourself.  Stay off the CB and ask your sister or mom to look at your postings on websites before you make them public.

Let’s take the issue of gender out of the debate so we can move forward and increase the visibility and the presence of women in the trucking industry.  We are working hard to attract more women to our workforce, but it’s still a very male dominated environment.

We’re not there yet.

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