Driving Change: The Rise of Women in School Transportation
Historically, women in school transportation have faced significant challenges in gaining access to leadership and driving positions, as the industry has traditionally been male-dominated. However, in recent years, more and more women have been breaking through the gender barriers and making significant contributions to the industry.
These women are challenging the stereotypes and bringing fresh perspectives to the table. From school bus drivers to transportation directors, women play vital roles in ensuring safe and efficient transportation for students. Here’s an overview of their current situation in the industry.
A Look into the Past
According to a report by the American School Bus Council, women made up only 16% of school bus drivers in the United States in 2015. Gender bias and the perception that driving large vehicles is a “man’s job” contributed to the challenges that women faced.
Despite these obstacles, women persevered and began to make inroads in the industry, slowly but surely challenging the status quo and demonstrating their value as skilled professionals.
A Change for the Better
Nowadays, the percentage of female school bus drivers in the United States has risen from 39% in 2016 to 42% in 2021. Likewise, more women are stepping into leadership roles becoming transportation directors. Despite this progress, women still face obstacles such as gender bias and a lack of female role models in the industry.
However, initiatives like the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) are actively working to support and encourage women in school transportation. Overall, while progress is still being made, women in school transportation are making significant strides toward achieving greater representation and recognition.
Advantages of Having a Gender-diverse Workforce
By actively seeking to hire women, the school transportation industry can increase its diversity and benefit from a broader range of skills and experiences, such as:
• Improved communication
Women are often perceived as excellent communicators, which can be especially important in situations where clear communication is essential.
Within our industry, this skill can be lifesaving during school bus emergencies or any stressful situation.
• Safer driving
Studies have shown that women are less likely to take risks and drive aggressively than men, leading to safer driving on the roads.
Consequently, this can constitute an asset for the well-being of the students at your charge.
• Higher profits
Having more gender-diverse teams can increase sales and profits. Likewise, inclusive businesses have higher average revenue.
This means you could see a shift in better money management by having more women on your team.
• Diversity of perspective
By having a diverse workforce that includes both men and women, the industry can benefit from a wider range of experiences and views when it comes to ensuring student safety.
Additionally, it can lead to higher levels of employee satisfaction and morale.
The Future Looks Bright
The future of women in school transportation looks bright, as more and more women are breaking through the gender barriers and making significant contributions to the industry.
The growing acknowledgment of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace is prompting a greater emphasis on gender equality across all aspects of the transportation sector, including school transportation. As a result, there will be a deliberate push in the coming years to attract and keep women in the industry.
Whether more women take on leadership roles or become successful school bus drivers, they serve as positive role models for future generations of women interested in pursuing careers in the industry. With continued support and investment, we will see even greater numbers of women in the school transportation industry in the years to come.
At TripSpark, we have witnessed firsthand the numerous benefits that stem from cultivating an inclusive and gender-diverse workforce. We recognize the value and advantages of having women in our company, and we take great pride in our predominantly female staff. As industry leaders, we remain committed to promoting gender equity and diversity in all aspects of our organization.
If you are looking to improve your operation, be more inclusive in your team and help us break the glass ceiling in our industry. If you want to keep reading about this topic, visit some of our other blog posts where we discussed it further.