Women face challenges in the transport industry that affect their decision to enter and stay – from the gender pay gap to the lack of knowledge around different career opportunities, concerns about safety, and discrimination from male colleagues and managers.
Removing these roadblocks will mean the difference between an industry that stays male-dominated and one that celebrates diversity and inclusion, reaping the benefits of a balanced workforce in an evolving climate.
Forward-thinking companies have been working to bridge the gender gap for some time. Diversity and education programs are helping to improve outcomes, but training requires real-world action to make a difference. Telematics technology is the solution the industry has long needed; it’s reshaping the landscape by providing greater transparency and improving workplace conditions, giving women the chance to take the wheel.
To increase gender diversity in the workplace, women need a range of opportunities to suit varied skills and aspirations, and they need to feel supported in these roles. Women in the transport industry currently dominate admin positions but are underrepresented in management and hands-on jobs.
Gender bias in the field is a big part of this issue. The Australian Transport Association and Teletrac Navman identified unconscious bias and fear of discrimination as predominant barriers to gender equality during the Driving Change diversity program. Given the male monopoly of the field – particularly in driving roles where women hold only 2.9% of positions – it’s unsurprising that women face such challenges. However, with telematics technology, detailed insights into how drivers and vehicles perform on the road are sent to fleet managers, giving full performance transparency without the gender bias. So, although women may still face negative attitudes amongst peers, the data will be there to back them up.
Healthy competition is even encouraged between drivers, with data used to recognise drivers who perform best or demonstrate significant improvement. This presents a fantastic opportunity for women to step in and challenge the status quo and receive acknowledgment for their achievements. Still, the next challenge arises in changing women’s perceptions of the job.
Improving the appeal for women
Advancing technology is not just creating opportunities; it’s also improving the conditions of transport industry roles. Telematics systems and in-vehicle technology gather accurate data and report it in real-time. Fleet managers use this data to identify and address risky driving behaviours and vehicle problems as they happen. The result is significantly improved driver safety, which appeals to women considering a role in the industry.
Workers can no longer continue driving while fatigued, or for hours on end without rest. The technology ensures the drivers’ safety is the top priority, reducing potentially hazardous consequences. It also highlights opportunities for training – if a driver displays a pattern of risky behaviour in the data, they are supported to improve, rather than being overlooked.
Women taking the wheel
With driver shortages in Australia putting extra strain on supply chains in 2021 and into 2022, there’s never been a better time to encourage women to get out on the road and break the bias.
We have the hard data available to show women are completely capable of succeeding in driver roles, and telematics has helped drastically improve conditions. We need to show women that hands-on driver roles can be just as, if not more appealing, than life behind the desk and that there’s plenty of room to grow.