A woman’s choice
Janet M., 50 years old, has been driving professionally since she was 18 years old. Did trucking choose Janet, or did she choose trucking?
GG: How did you get into trucking?
JM: When I was 17 and working in the office of a freight company, I met a trucker and learned how to drive. I knew it was what I wanted to do. My family had been supportive, and my father bought me a truck when I was 18.
GG: Is driving professionally a big jump from handling paperwork at a freight company?
JM: I’d already raced cars and motorcycles, so trucking made sense.
GG: What was it like being a woman driver in 1973?
JM: It was a lot different than it is now. The truckstops were geared toward men, so I had to wait to shower until the men were done.
GG: There are still men who think that women shouldn’t drive.
JM: I knew early on that I had a lot to learn, so I found the oldest drivers at the truck stops and sat next to them. I learned the ropes by listening and keeping my mouth shut. They knew I was serious when they found out that I wasn’t out to prove anything.
GG: What advice would you give a woman interested in driving?
JM: I have no tolerance for women who can’t take over if their partner can’t take the load. Learn and get good at doing everything, or don’t do it. (Janet’s voice was quite stern on this point)
For 32 years, Janet has driven as an owner-operator. In March, she became a company driver for Marten Transport. “I can’t believe I waited this long to drive for a company. It’s great!”
Thanks to all the pioneering women like Janet, and the families, friends, husbands and boyfriends who have encouraged women to become professional drivers. The world of trucking will never be the same—thank goodness.
You can e-mail Golden Girl at email@example.com or mail your letter to Over the Road Magazine, P.O. Box 549, Roswell, GA 30077-0549.