The Real Women in Trucking nonprofit advocacy organization named its first annual Queen of the Road award winners following a recognition ceremony held on a cruise ship in late March. As previously reported, a series of nominees for the awards was put up for a vote. The top three finalists after totals were tallied were recognized at the ceremony.
At the top of the list was Andriesue “Bitzy” Gomez, a trailblazing female driver from the 1970s on who founded an organization called the Coalition of Women Truckers under the banner of NOW. Via the coalition and individual efforts, Gomez fought against harrassment of women in the industry. A single mother at the time with three daughters, Gomez turned to trucking as a means to support them, and along the way spoke up against team-training practices.
According to a profile on RWIT’s website, “she often said that women entering trucking must stand up for themselves and adopt to their vernacular the statement that ‘co-habitation with a man they have no relationship with is not a requirement for employment.'”
She began working with other women truckers to file hiring discrimination lawsuits against a number of trucking fleets. These women worked together to identify carriers that would deny employment based on gender and challenge their practices in court. She won many of her battles, which according to RWIT led to some of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s “good faith” hiring requirements we see in the industry today.
At the recognition ceremony, Gomez’ award was accepted by her daughter Delores, as Gomez passed away in 2015 in Santa Ana, Calif., after being killed in a traffic accident as a pedestrian. Watch her acceptance speech — and RWIT President/Founder Desiree Wood’s introduction — in the following video:
Two additional “Trucking Industry Trailblazer” honors were bestowed on RWIT board members Idella Hansen and Sandi Talbott at the ceremony as well. Read more about them and all of the finalists via this link to RWIT’s website.