Sometimes the trucking industry can be thought of as a “man’s” profession, but women have played a key role in its success over the past century. Below, we took a look at some of the pioneering women in trucking who shaped the industry, as recorded by the United States Department of Transportation:
Alice Huyler Ramsey
Alice Huyler Ramsey became the first woman to drive coast-to-coast from New York to California in 1909. Ramsey went on to found the Women’s Motoring Club as well.
In 1918, Luella Bates began working for the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company as a test driver during World War I. She drove a Model B truck and continued on after the war as a demonstrator and driver. In January of 1920, Bates became the first woman to receive a driver’s license in the state of New York. Later that year, Four Wheel Drive Auto Co. sent Bates around the country to promote the idea that the truck was “so easy a woman could drive it.”
The next woman on our list is Elizabeth Drennan, who earned her commercial driver’s license in 1929. She went on to run her own trucking company, Drennan Truck Line. Drennan overcame a hearing impairment that nearly stopped her from getting her license, but after arguing her case and fighting against what the Texas State Historical Association called “sex bias”, she was granted her license.
In 1943, Mazie Lanham became the first woman driver for UPS. Lanham started the trend of hiring woman for these types of jobs because of the shortage of men during World War II and it continued after the war was over.
From the time that motor vehicles started taking the place of the horse and carriage, women have been pushing for progress in gender equality.
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