Have you heard of these women in logistics history?
Women’s History Month
It’s Women’s History Month and a great time to remember some of the great women who have contributed to the transportation industry. Every year, during the month of March, you can Google “women and transportation” and find numerous stories of courageous women who broke barriers in this industry. We encourage you to check out the U.S. Department of Transportation website. They’ve got a great interactive mural that highlights many women who advanced the safety and efficiency of the transportation industry.
Here at AM Transport Services, we are grateful for these trailblazers and are highlighting just a few of them today.
Most experts believe that Luella Bates is the first woman truck driver (1918) and the first woman licensed to drive in the state of New York. Driving for Four Wheel Drive Auto Co (FWD), she was sent on three transcontinental tours of the US demonstrating that the FWD truck was so easy to steer that a woman driver could do it. She hauled coal through the streets of Utica, New York, and she hauled meat for a meat packaging plant across a flooded road in Oklahoma. She proved over and over again that women could be great truck drivers.
Lillie Elizabeth Drennan
Drennan is believed to be the first commercially licensed female truck driver (1929) and owner of a trucking company. Along with her husband, she founded a trucking company in 1928. When they divorced, she became the sole owner of the trucking company she continued to run until 1952. She had an exemplary driving record and won several awards for safety proving the men who wanted to refuse her commercial license, they were 100% wrong.
This amazing woman worked as a truck driver in California in the 1930s, and then moved to Alaska where she operated her own trucking transfer company. After serving as a driver for the Quartermaster Corps during World War II, Dow became the first woman to drive a full truckload the entire length of the Alaska Highway in 1944 in only seven days. She continued to work in transportation until the 1950s.
Justus was the first black female locomotive engineer in the United States. Starting out in 1973 as a traction motor clerk in one of Union Pacific’s Omaha facilities, she applied for an engineer opening in 1976 and, much to her surprise, was offered the position. She fought against both racial and gender biases and persevered in an oft-times hostile work environment.
Marilyn Jorgenson Reece
She was the first woman to be licensed as a civil engineer in California. As a civil engineer in the 1960s, she designed the I-10/405 interchange to handle fast-moving traffic in California. She was awarded the Governor’s Design for Excellence for this work, and the interchange is now named for her.
According to a recent Gartner study, while women make up over 50% of the U.S. workforce, only 35% of supply chain employees are women. The logistics industry continues to be behind the curve in attracting and employing talented women. Here at AM Transport Services, we applaud the committed women who make their careers in logistics and honor those who dedicated their lives to clearing the path for women everywhere.