Here is a video which celebrated ingenuity, innovation and IWD (international Women’s Day) which is this week. In the video, a selection of technologies vital to life on the road for truck drivers are shown to have been invented by women. Read more
The Queensland Trucking Association points us in the direction of a recent initiative to allow affirmative action on women truck drivers, which may prove to be a model for others to follow. Read more
This week our discussion on gender issues in trucking continues with a response from Urszula Kelly, Managing Director UC Logistics in Perth. Read more
Look around many transport companies and the sign on the door could easily read, ‘White Males Only’, it is going to be a long wait for the trucking industry to become genuinely inclusive. This is unfortunate, but it is true. The level of inclusivity in the trucking industry is extremely low, and has been for a long time. Diesel News visited this topic two years ago and we can repeat this article because not much has changed. Read more
Looking at what else is in this week’s Diesel News, it would seem that there are major changes needed in the trucking industry and road transport and the government need to be ready to introduce changes in order to meet the challenges of the ever-growing freight task which faces us. Read more
A new report tells us there is a long way to go to achieve gender equality in trucking. It shows the trucking industry lags well behind most other industries in Australia in the number of women involved and in the pay levels women receive in this country. Read more
People are always talking about the low number of women in the trucking industry and when you ask a lot of women, it’s a culture thing, which is stopping their participation. Most women do not want to be part of a boys club.Read more
Here we see a video about women changing trucking. If they are, it is a slow and painful process, working through the male domination which characterises our industry. This video first appeared on the SBS news show, The Feed.
Two top women working in and with the trucking industry were celebrated as part of the Women in Industry Award awarded with around 250 guests nominees, finalists and winners attending a gala presentation dinner in Melbourne.
The fourth annual awards night, hosted by The Project’s Gorgi Coghlan, recognised the achievements of women working within the commercial road transport, logistics, mining, engineering and manufacturing industries, and aims to raise the profile of women within industry, as well as promote and encourage excellence.
Among the award winners were:
Excellence in Road Transport, sponsored by NatRoad, went to Pam McMillan, Chair, Transport Women Australia.
Social Leader of the Year, sponsored by COG Advertising, was awarded to Beverly Williams, Industry Pathways and Placement Coordinator – Automotive Centre of Excellence, Bendigo Kangan Institute.
Winner of the Excellence in Engineering category, sponsored by Cummins, was Philippa Craft, Product Manager – Bulk Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen, Helium, BOC Limited.
“We would like to congratulate all attendees and finalists for joining us at this year’s Women in Industry Awards,” said event organiser, Lauren Winterbottom. “It was amazing to celebrate and promote the achievements of so many women in industry, and we hope to see you all next year.”
The fourth edition of the awards was complemented by the inaugural Women In Industry Conference, which took place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre earlier that day.
‘’NatRoad are proud to sponsor the Women in Industry awards to show our support for increasing and recognising diversity across industry. I would like to congratulate Pam McMillan, Chair, Transport Women Australia on winning the Excellence in Road Transport category,” said Warren Clark, NatRoad CEO.
Pam has been involved in road transport for most of her life and was invited to join the board of Transport Women Australia in 2000. She was the Transport Women representative on the Council of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) for seven years, is a JP, and has also been on the board of, and administrator for, the Australian Truck Drivers Memorial since 2005.
Pam was the winner of the National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year in 1999 and, along with husband Doug, was inducted to the Road Transport Hall of Fame at Alice Springs in 2005. She was a joint winner of the NatRoad 2013 Ted Pickering Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to The Road Freight Industry and their company was also the winner of the Global/NatRoad Awards for Excellence in 1998.
Beverly has worked for Bendigo Kangan Institute for approximately 25 years and her career highlights include working with youth and disengaged youth to support their educational outcomes, welfare referrals and transition to employment, working with industry to support student placements and transition to employment opportunities (including apprenticeships, traineeships and other job roles), providing excellence in customer service internally and externally, and ensuring streamlined and efficient campus administration co-ordination and practices were maintained.
Some time ago there was pressure on the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency to include truck driving in the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List to enable transport companies to bring foreign drivers into Australia on 457 Visas. There was also an assertion about trucking struggling to attract women and aboriginal Australians to participate. One submission summed it up this way, ‘the industry is very male dominated and a perception of a ‘boys’ club’ culture may be off-putting to women’.
“At the time there were thirty female drivers in Karratha, and we used to meet every six weeks,” said Heather Jones, from the Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls. “We had specific issues, like being a little bit shorter and weaker than men. So, we would bounce around ideas on how to counteract this. Things like putting up bolsters, changing a tyre, we do it the easy way, not the bloke’s way. We had a laugh and would share knowledge.
“We discussed how we could become more visible. We decided to start an organisation, specifically aimed to bring women and young guys into the industry. We have a good bunch of girls. We wanted to be visible but not be a target, so we decided to start wearing hi-vis pink shirts. Then we contacted the media and it then snowballed. All around the world, the press did a story on us. We are girls, in the Wild West playing with big toys.
“That generated an immediate response. I could have stopped driving and just answered emails, Facebook and other contacts. Even now it could be a full time job. Whenever there’s another story we will get another 50 to 100 people saying they want to join us.”
Heather reckoned there would be enough ‘new to the industry’ truck drivers in Australia to fill the drivers’ seats. Where the shortfall comes is in drivers who have experience. She decided addressing this problem was the important issue.
“If we address that gap we will have no issues,” said Heather. “We will have professional trained truck drivers to fill the seats of those who are retiring and cope with the doubling of the freight task.”
One part of this initiative has seen Heather visiting schools, with a couple of priorities, to enhance awareness of trucks and their blindspots, as well as promoting trucking as a career.
“I love this job and I want as many people as possible to experience it,” said Heather. “It really is a fantastic job and we have the most remarkable people. I tell the guys they are the cornerstone of society. Don’t ever say you are a dumbass truck driver. Without trucks we don’t have a society.”