August is National Women’s Month in South Africa, and we celebrate our National Woman’s Day on Aug 9th. It is a time when women proudly celebrate their efforts towards attaining gender equality, and men salute them for all that they are to society in every aspect of life.
When we celebrated International Women’s Day in March, the theme was to create gender equality and women everywhere were encouraged to do this by empowering themselves and their Sisters. This meant being educated and skilled enough to stand with heads held high in a predominantly man’s world.
It is a sad indictment of our South African society that 2/3 of the jobs lost due to the pandemic were those of women, many of whom are the main breadwinners in their family.
A fresh young approach to Trucking
Ironically it is also International Youth Day on August 12th and young females, far better educated and emancipated than in previous years, are seeking jobs in many areas, some of which were primarily the domain of men. One of these, of course, is trucking and not so long ago female Truckers in South Africa were almost unheard of.
In the USA Truckers call each other ‘good buddy,’ and the question is will you be a ‘good buddy’ to your female counterparts when female Truckers are growing stronger on the SA Trucking scene? There’s certainly plenty to go around so men need not feel threatened either. The demand for truckers is high, but the employment rate for women is low.
A News 24 report had this to say ‘Statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) earlier this year revealed that South Africa has startlingly low rates of employed women at 50.9% of the female population aged 25 to 54. Alongside this, reports that South Africa needs at least 15 000 new professional truck drivers every year only points to the importance for women in trucking to be prioritised as a growing requirement.”
Opportunities are emerging
Fortunately, opportunities are emerging, and there are a number of Driver academies available for women who wish to become Truckers. Three years ago women active role players in the transport and logistics field came together to launch the Emerging Truckers Association of South Africa (TASA). The aim of the association – officially launched in Sandton, Johannesburg – was to help bring on transformation in the industry. The leading women sought to create an environment where emerging and upcoming role-players could also succeed and form part of the thriving field.
Always leading by example
One of South Africa’s leading truck manufacturers and suppliers, FAW, always in the thick of whatever is driving the transport industry, has an excellent Driver training program, open to all races and genders.
This is part of our Total Quality care program ensuring aftersales service across the board. Sadly, not all these can be provided during the pandemic, but we, like the rest of this great country of ours, do believe that this shall pass and we will once again be able to assist in all areas.
We salute women throughout the country at this time and sincerely hope that all our male truckers too will wholly support our female trainees and Truckers of the future. Travel safe!