Women In Trucking Association, A voice for gender diversity
by Ellen Voie, on Jul 31, 2019 8:27:00 PM
Regan is a professional driver for YRCW. When she started working for the carrier, she identified as a male but has since transitioned into a female. She is one of the members of the gender diversity task force recently formed by the Women In Trucking Association (WIT) to understand the needs of the LGBTQ community better.
We realize there is a growing number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer professional drivers and other transportation workers. As the voice of gender diversity, we want to ensure we are inclusive and to create an awareness within the trucking industry.
Twelve years ago, when Women In Trucking Association was formed, many carriers did not want to hire women, and others claimed to be gender blind in their hiring and promotion. Since then, we've learned that women bring a different perspective to the traditionally male industry.
We were thrilled with the research that found women actually make better drivers in many instances, due to their risk-averse behavior. Thanks to the crash causation study by the American Transportation Research Institute. Many carriers are focusing on attracting and retaining women while working to understand and appreciate the benefits women bring to the industry.
Here we are, twelve years later, and we're extending the need for gender diversity beyond women to learn, appreciate, and accommodate those who might not fall into one of two gender categories.
Regan, along with three other LGBTQ members of the task force, is helping us better understand the issues they are facing and to improve our member's ability to identify and address these obstacles and to eliminate outright discrimination.
We are also pleased to have a task force member from Cargo Transporters, the only truckload carrier in the US to receive a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index, which is the benchmarking report on practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality. They were identified as a 2019 Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.
Using the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Corporate Equality Index information, we have created a survey that will be sent to our members to determine best practices in hiring, promoting, and accommodating the LGBTQ community. We hope to use this to highlight companies like Cargo Transporters who have made real efforts in providing an inclusive and diverse workforce.
Some of the early results from this committee include a change in the WIT application process. Now, members will have the option to identify as male, female or nonbinary when joining the association, both online and with mailed applications.
We have also created an LGBTQ group for all WIT members to join in the Engage Platform on our website so we can share ideas, challenges and exchange stories to bring this community together virtually. We want to offer our members a way to highlight companies that welcome all employees with respect and make an effort to embrace diversity and inclusion. Our goal is to provide the opportunity to network and to learn.
We are also working on finding data from carriers or other sources to find out how many of our professional drivers identify as LGBTQ so we can look forward in the coming years and see if our efforts have made a difference in the industry.
A webinar is also being planned to provide both members and nonmembers information on how companies can be more gender diverse and inclusive. All monthly webinars are free and open to anyone interested in the topic. Watch our website for upcoming webinars and specifically for one that focuses on gender diversity and hiring practices.
Finally, we will be featuring Regan and her story as a future "Member of the Month." This distinction was created to share stories of our members and their successes and challenges. Regan is ready to share her story to help us connect with other LGBTQ members and to provide a platform of inclusiveness.
While some may still view the trucking industry as a place for white males, Women In Trucking Association is working hard to create an environment where anyone will feel valued, respected and appreciated, regardless of their gender identity.