Statistics show that 5.2 percent of the current truck drivers comprise women. Trucking is still considered a nontraditional occupation by the U.S Department, and men are the major stakeholders in the affair, besides, the autonomy, adventures, and self-reliance involving the travel appeal to a wide range of personalities. April Halter, who drives for Pride Transportation once, said that truckers have a boss they often forget about. This article reveals some of America’s toughest and roughest women thriving in highways of truck transportation. In honor of the efforts women are putting in the society, we take a look at most elegant, gallant and hardworking women who took the initiative to participate in truck driving.
Annie Box Neal had a very humble beginning. She started with stagecoaches and wagons. Her stagecoaches went through Arizona and Tucson in 1892. As young as 22 years old, she was already a famous sharpshooter and an experienced driver who helps with her husband’s freight and other truck driving activities.
Mary Field, widely acknowledged as “Stagecoach Mary” was the second woman to ever work in the U.S. Postal service. Interestingly, she was the first among the black women. She started her carrier at the age of 60 and later become the most trusted, reliable delivery driver in Montana and Cascade. Fields could drive through inclement weather and deliver the good at the required time.
Also, Calamity Jane stated in her autobiography that she worked for Pony Express back in 1876. She vividly describes her early experience in freight-hauler as explained below. “In the month of June, I worked as a pony rider who carried the U.S. mail between Custer and Deadwood over a rough trail in the Black Hills country. Most of the riders before me had been robbed and their belongings were taken away. Remember mails and money had to be transported by the trucks, rendering the job a very difficult one. However, I took courage as a rider, with greater determination to ensure that all goods are delivered safely to their destination. When I started, I thought I wouldn’t make. Some of my colleagues were not so encouraging, and at some point, I was even molested. However, their discouragement never sets me off the truck. I still held on to the job, and ranked among the best.”
Taking a man’s job
In 1919, Luella Bates was made the spokeswoman for the Four Wheel Drive Corporation campaign. She was among the six women selected to specifically demonstrate how it was easy to handle the company’s new truck steering.
Records have that Lillie Drennan was the first female licensed truck driver, and also the first woman to own trucking business. She managed the company for 25 years and had a perfect safety record.
At the beginning of the First World War, we saw few women participating and helping as nurses. However, as time went by, millions of women joined the military, and a good number help directly in the war fronts. Alaskan highway pioneer Rusty Dow was perfectly known for her services to the Quartermaster Corps, where she diligently worked as a truck driver during the war.
The Last Pioneer in America
Immediately after the Alaskan Military Highway was finished in 1944, Dow joined in and became the first woman to drive a loaded truck across the desert and back. It is essential to note that history recorded women as major participants in transportations of materials across the wilderness. However, Dow’s activists depicted them as intruders. In her entire life, Dow drove trucks and managed a trucking and transfer service near Alaska. Yet, this is what she eventually wrote; “This was a man’s job on a man’s road, and in its entirety, built by men.”
Hitherto, women have been driving trucks. In fact, some of them even took the job earlier before Dow. It was interesting to see women taking over the most complicated jobs reserved for men during the first and the second world wars. Truck driving was one of the tasks.
Actress Della Resse also worked as a truck driver and contributed heftily in women car transportation. The other great contributor is Bea Arthur. She served as a truck driver from 1943-1945 in the marines, before she became a “Golden Girl.”