I love lady truckers

Added: Parisa Sayer - Date: 23.10.2021 07:03 - Views: 15572 - Clicks: 4012

All over the world it's the same - a woman driving a lorry gets funny looks and has to listen to unfunny jokes. It's a career women are not expected to choose, it seems, and often one they don't even consider. But why not? The job no longer requires brute strength and some women who do it say they love it. Natalie Tipton is a year-old lorry driver based in north-east England, but her experience is not unique.

They usually get looks from people like, 'Wow I didn't know women could drive trucks, I didn't know women did drive trucks. And in Pakistan, a country with only one woman lorry driver - Shamim Akhtar - some people on the street in Islamabad didn't just think it was an odd career choice, but morally wrong. If she wants to she can do something else. And if she wants to drive then maybe she should just drive a smaller car. Only 1. In the US it's a little higher at 5. So while it may be that only a minority of drivers live up to the stereotype - brawny, macho and dressed in a lumberjack shirt - lorry driving is, at present, still largely a man's world.

And women who venture into it often have a lot to put up with. You have to be quite ballsy as well. Just because you're in such a male-orientated environment and because there is quite a lot of banter," says Natalie. That's just how men are so Natalie mentions a time when a male driver said: "I bet you ran a mile when you first got into your truck. Jenny Tipping, another British trucker, who works as a "trunker" driving overnight along deserted motorways, has also been subjected to this kind of humour. And it annoys her that it's not only men who subscribe to the stereotype.

I think a lot of women who are actually perfectly capable of driving, they talk themselves out of it. They just assume that because they are female they won't have those skills or they won't be able to learn them as fast as a man. And it's absolute rubbish. I have seen no evidence for it in any of the jobs I have done. Shamim in Pakistan, however, says that in the few months since she qualified she has come to feel accepted by her male colleagues, and that when her lorry breaks down on the road people are always keen to help her.

Then my colleagues tell them, 'She is like our mother and she is also a truck driver. This year's season features two weeks of inspirational stories about the BBC's Women and others who are defying stereotypes around the world. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram using the hashtag Women. Natalie, Jenny and Shamim came to trucking for different reasons. Shamim had five children to support and needed money to send them to school as her husband, a gardener, didn't earn enough to cover the fees.

First she worked as a car driving instructor, then progressed to vans and passed the test in Islamabad this summer for the largest lorries, at the age of Natalie, for her part, took up lorry driving after a year out of work, with encouragement from her mother, who at the time ran a small lorry-driving business. Jenny, meanwhile, only chose the job after completing two Masters degrees, and starting a PhD.

The "opportunity to just think" is one of the things she loves about the job. Another is taking in the world around her as she drives - the wildlife, or the phases of the moon. You drive along the motorway and everyone thinks that it's a really brutal atmosphere but if you are high up, as you are in a lorry, you can see the trees, you can see the shrubs, you can see the birds, you can see kestrels ready to swoop down People think of it as quite a dirty job, and in a way it is, but you can get out and about and see nature in a way that you never can in an office.

These days trucking involves no hard physical exertion. Automatic gears and hi-tech suspension have helped make driving large vehicles much easier, she says, and it's no longer a job involving a lot of manual labour. There's automated transmissions, there's 'air-ride' everything and a lot of technology in the trucks. Drivers are home a lot more often, and they don't have to unload their trucks - it's just dropping their trailer and hooking up another one and taking off again. There is, however, one aspect of the job which arguably puts women at a disadvantage, and that is the necessity for the long-distance driver to spend nights parked up in a truck stop.

Ellen's association advises women drivers not to park at the back of the parking lot, and not to walk between trucks, to reduce the risk of harassment. It's also working with US firms to improve truck de and install alarm systems which turn the lights on or blast the horn if anyone tries to break in. Natalie has found that when she spends a night in the cab, she has to sleep "with one eye open", so she has given up overnight journeys. These are problems that there will soon be an urgent need to resolve, because it seems unlikely that men alone will be able to make up for a serious shortage of drivers.

Currently 45, drivers are needed in the UK, and a similar in the US. Women react differently to walking into this traditional male environment. But I think because I do such a masculine job, I quite like to maintain a certain standard of girliness. Shamim's advice on the other hand is to "kill the woman inside". I wish that God protects all women so that they don't feel compelled to leave their home to earn a livelihood but if they have to do it because of financial constraints then they should forget that they are women they should only concentrate on the work and kill the woman they are insideā€¦ she only needs to be courageous.

There are some who would argue that women actually make better lorry drivers than men. Ellen says companies in the US are learning that women take fewer risks, and are less likely to have high-speed collisions. Companies often tell her, she adds, that women drivers are "so much better with the customers and the paperwork and the equipment". Natalie's employers, Brenda and Steve Ward of Ward Brothers in Middlesbrough, currently have just three women drivers among men, but say they would like more. In fact, she says, they are as strong as any of the men.

Women drivers get paid exactly the same as the men at Ward Brothers, and in both the UK and the US you can be earning a "living wage", as Ellen puts it, after just a few weeks of training. Natalie says she is "making something of her life". It suits her better than the beauty or care sectors, where many of her friends work, and gives her a sense of freedom. She describes her lorry as her "office on wheels". Donna Smith, Warrington : I love the freedom of when I can take my breaks and completely hate low bridges. Mirja Nurkkala, Saskatoon, Canada : Women can do driving and everything else included in trucking.

I have been driving from , first in Finland and now in Canada. I love my job, wouldn't want to do anything else. And I definitely love to shock people and driving a semi is a perfect way! I know women truckers from all over the world and even though we still have to 'prove ourselves' I can recommend this career to any woman. There are different driving jobs from daytime business hours to living in truck, from neat, no-physical-stuff-included jobs to those where you do everything! And I have seen women do all those dirtiest, hardest tasks just because they need to be done.

Mandy Travers, Newport : I have been driving class 1 for over 25 years I applied to work for a big local company, filled out application handed it in to the transport manager of the company only to find out that it went straight into office bin The female co-owner of company saw this and took it out and requested that I get called to come in I had three interviews the men just had to show their licence and told to start Monday Putting all that aside I did get a job, and after a few months I proved myself to my fellow drivers who I gave respect to and got it back in abundance I have been with the same company now for 20 years and its the only job I can start my day with a smile and even after 15 hour shift I still book off with a smile The one thing that hasn't changed in the UK is suitable clean rest and toilets facilities.

If this situation was vastly improved, then more women would feel it a safer, cleaner environment to work in. When I used to night out, I used to arrange to park with other drivers that i knew, friends of my Dad mostly. I would never have considered then or now to park in an isolated place. The other drivers I worked with, all men, were gentlemen. They treated me with respect and helped me as they would another fellow driver.

I went on to marry and have a family, and I run a small haulage business with my husband, and yes we have had just one female driver. I think the facility issue has a huge impact on the of females becoming professional drivers. The movie screen constantly going by and driving into the peacefulness of the night.

Full moons, the smell of honeysuckle in the Spring time and when it's rest time I enjoy relaxing in my little neat bunk, my home away from home. I call myself a Werner Enterprise warrior and stand strong in the face of all danger realizing I can and do go safely down the road with great joy in my heart knowing There is so much more to say but I must - get on down the road. Lucy Rose Hewson, Petersfield, Hampshire : I tramp up and down the country all week every week, I leave home on a Sunday and get home on a Friday, I never know where I'll be, as the saying goes "home is where you park it".

To survive in this industry you need mental strength and stamina not because your a woman but because of what the job entails, the concentration needed and the general lack of disrespect from the general public. I'm not going to pretend it's all roses and rainbows because it isn't however the good days out weigh the bad. When you've got a truck your proud of, it's clean and the sun's shining with an open road in front of you I can honestly say I'm living the dream.

I love lady truckers

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Why don't women become truckers?