The month of March is Women’s History Month and is dedicated to celebrating the many accomplishments of women. While the trucking industry has historically been very male-dominated, it is hard to imagine what the transportation and logistics industry would look like without women. Here are just a few of the amazing women who have shaped this industry throughout history.
Luella Bates became the first woman truck driver in 1918. She worked for the Four Wheel Drive Auto Co. from 1918-1922, and during World War 1 she was a test driver that traveled throughout the state of Wisconsin. Even after the war when most women were let go to make jobs for returning soldiers, Luella Bates remained on as a demonstrator and driver. She was a skilled driver as well as a mechanic, handling all the maintenance on her truck.
Lillie Elizabeth Drennan
Lillie Elizabeth Drennan is credited as the first licensed female truck driver and trucking company over. In 1928 Drennan and her husband took advantage of the oil boom and started their own trucking company, which she later became the sole owner of. She received her commercial truck-driver’s license in 1929 after the Railroad Commission started supervising the motor-freight business in Texas.
Rusty Dow worked as a truck driver for the U.S. Army Engineers/Alaska Defense Command during World War II. She’s most famously remembered for being the first woman to drive a fully loaded truck the entire length of the Alaska Highway in 1944. She completed the 1,560-mile trip in only seven days.
Mazie Lanham became the first woman to drive for UPS in 1943. UPS began hiring women to work during World War 2. Women first started working for UPS by sorting, tracing, routing, and loading packages. Soon UPS realized they needed women to become drivers, with Lanham having the honor of being the first one to step to the task.
Adriesue “Bitzy” Gomez
Bitzy Gomez was a female truck driver and part of the 1970’s Coalition of Women Truck Drivers. She fought against discrimination in the industry, dealing with issues such as sexual misconduct and women’s bathrooms at truck stops. The result of her work was crucial in creating equal opportunities for women in the industry and making it safer.
The trucking industry is still a male-dominated field, but women are making a mark for themselves thanks to those that came before them. Women now make up 10% of commercial truck drivers and fill vital roles in the management and logistics side of the transportation industry. At TRAFFIX, we’re proud to have strong women on our team and are proud to celebrate all the achievements that women throughout history have contributed to this industry.