Truck Driving Industry Under Scrutiny as Women Challenge Same-Sex Training Policies

The industry's competitive wages make it an appealing career choice for some women

Green-go Trucker 22/10/2023 Matthew Gossett (The Green-Go Trucker)

In a mounting controversy within the trucking industry, an increasing number of women are encountering hurdles in securing truck-driving jobs due to same-sex training policies enforced by numerous trucking companies. These policies mandate that female job candidates must be trained exclusively by female trainers, but the scarcity of female truck drivers in the United States has left the industry grappling with a shortage of qualified female trainers.

Three determined women, among them Ashli Streeter, have lodged a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Stevens Transport, claiming that the same-sex training policy unjustly restricted their access to job opportunities. Critics argue that while sexual harassment remains a legitimate concern, addressing it should be achieved through more rigorous vetting and comprehensive anti-harassment programs rather than enforcing same-sex training policies.

The issue of same-sex training in the trucking industry is not new. In 2014, a federal judge ruled against a similar policy at another major trucking company, Prime, yet same-sex training policies persist within the industry. Women constitute a mere 4.8% of the truck driver workforce in the United States as of 2021. Nevertheless, the industry's competitive wages make it an appealing career choice for some women.

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The year 2021 marked a turning point with the Infrastructure Act, which mandated the formation of an advisory board to assist women pursuing careers in trucking and identify barriers to entry. While some women in the industry argue that same-sex training policies are superfluous, others contend that these policies are necessary, primarily due to the close quarters and sleeping arrangements within truck cabs.

Suggestions to rectify the situation include improved training programs specifically tailored for women, the installation of cameras in cabs to monitor behavior, and providing separate hotel accommodations for trainers and trainees during rest periods.

The future of same-sex training policies in the trucking industry may be in jeopardy as they appear to be in violation of federal employment discrimination laws. This ongoing controversy is expected to spark further debate and scrutiny as the industry grapples with issues of gender equality and workplace safety.

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