Perhaps the only way to approach women as a subject is to think about one woman at a time. The only thing a man can say about women in general is that they are all different from one another.
There are more women on the face of the planet than men. Nevertheless men tend to run the politics and the warmongering, and are in the majority in many professions, including truck driving. Female truck drivers are more common than they were 20 years ago, but truck driving remains an occupation with a manly image, which keeps women from wanting to join the ranks. Why would a woman want to act like a man? It is a step down in the minds of many women and to be honest, I see their point.
Women have a grasp of some important life issues men do not have. Perhaps because they can bear children they have a point of view that is more likely to want to preserve life than take it, for example. History is full of countries ruled by men trying to kill each other off. Women, who supply the manpower that goes to war, don’t see the sense in going through childbirth and the trouble of raising sons just to herd them onto a battlefield.
Closer to home, women probably don’t have as much interest in ruining their health or driving to the point of falling asleep behind the wheel to deliver the beer, fertilizer or watermelons on time. This does not make them bad drivers; this makes them good drivers. The industry survives on convincing men they can be men only if they kill themselves for the sake of the gross national product and a few dollars more in their pockets. Maybe if more women were shippers and receivers, delivery schedules would consider safety first rather than last. The hypocrisy built into trucking that says “Safety First” but actually means “Money First” might do with a dose of a woman’s common sense.
Astute readers will notice that I have gone from saying women can be comprehended only one at a time to saying that they have some common characteristics. The fact is women do have some things in common, like the ability to do an excellent job behind the wheel without allowing anybody to tell them it’s their duty to run Dirty to Shaky in three days. It’s the way they do this that makes each one unique and sometimes mystifying. My money is on the woman who looks at the world men have made and figures out how it could be run better. Men certainly have made a mess of it.
About the only thing men have that women don’t is more muscle. Some men use this muscle the way cowards use any advantage. They beat women up. Some men are more subtle. They will simply try to keep a woman down by constantly telling her she can’t succeed or shouldn’t even try. In fact some men who would never hit a woman are as cowardly as the men who do. They simply don’t use their fists. Some women I have known became truck drivers to escape such abusive men.
Still, most of the women in trucking are the women who maintain the household while Daddy is on the road. They get very little credit. Daddy gets the credit because he comes and goes like the wind and he is always new and he has stories to tell. All Mama does is cook and clean and wipe the snot off Junior’s runny nose. Somehow those things are not important. Daddy is important. Daddy drives a Large Car. Get real.
It used to be that women were a man’s safety valve from the pressure of work. But more and more they have taken on those pressures and now expect men to treat them as equals. Well they are our equals – if not our betters – in a lot of ways. They are powerful human beings. Their power may not be political, not yet, but they have an unacknowledged power of which it behooves a man to take note. The sooner women take their rightful place beside men, the better off we will all be.
As for myself, I believe this industry will be better off when there are more women in positions of authority. Unless they have lost the battle to become equal and have lost sight of the basic fact that life has a significance that money can never have, they could transform this industry. They have the guts, the intelligence and the will, and they understand instinctively what makes life worth living.