Women in trucking

4 min readMar 9, 2024


Come February, the request to “source” female truck drivers to induct them into their fleet to “showcase” their interest in gender diversity multiplies. “You know, March 8 coming and we need your help to get a few female truck drivers,” is the common refrain.

March 8 is celebrated as Women’s Day globally. One such caller among several this year was Vaibhav Angal, HR Head of Greenline Mobility Solutions (an Essar group fleet-owning company engaged in LNG-driven heavy motor vehicles or trucks in common parlance). The company plans to set up a driver training institute (DTI), most likely in Chinchwad, Pune, where it manufactures LNG trucks. “We wish to recruit, train and employ them at multi-locations,” says he. Good luck!

Though the Namakkal-Sankakiri belt, the cradle of trucking in southern India, boasts of a handful of female truck drivers working in tandem with their better halves(!), the concept of women in trucking gained significant traction a few summers ago. This was after the Mahindra group identified Yogita Raghuvanshi, a pioneering female truck driver, and gifted her a Mahindra truck. Her story, which made her a national sensation, may inspire more women to consider truck driving a viable career option. However, the idea of women in trucking has not gained traction. Of course, many women taxi, auto, and bus drivers across India. On the other hand, one can count women truck drivers with one’s ten fingers.

Nonetheless, there are a few fleet owners who walk the talk. BLR Logistics Ashok Goyal and his son Abhishek hired five women truck drivers in 2023 for the inter-warehouse movement of one of his clients’
materials near Pune. As of today, three continue to be on BLR’s rolls. “Abhishek and I wanted to do something innovative, so we came up with the idea. We approached several NGOs in vain. None could help us,” explains Goyal senior over the phone from Mumbai around the time when the Indian news channels are “breaking news”, with President Draupadi Murmuru picking Sudha Murthy for Rajya Sabha as the nation is celebrating Women’s Day.

Finally, Ashok Leyland came to his rescue. The truck maker got Goyal five women from the Hindi belt: they came with experience in driving autos, taxis, and buses. After a brief training session, they began their BLR journey. What was the catch? “Our package was excellent: Rs.35,000 CTC and a proper appointment letter. In their earlier avatar, the job was not structured or regular. Moreover, our package was very attractive,” elaborates the BLR chief. Appointment letter for truck drivers? Excellent initiative.

They were put on an 8-hour shift and weekly off. Moreover, the working environment was so good that these women drivers permanently brought their families to Pune. BLR was undoubtedly experimenting and found to be a workable module. Such short runs say 12 km, are okay. The Chintamanis of Namakkal-Sankakiri and Yogitas of the Hindi belt are on a higher plane: long-haul trucking. They are far and few.

Long-haul trucking is more demanding. There are no adequate wayside amenities for long-haul male truck drivers: no toilets or bathrooms. They defecate in the open and bathe in the open-air houdas (bathing areas). Female truck drivers, if they opt for long-hauls, need better amenities.
Leyland is believed to be training women bus drivers at its Delhi DTI for clients. Similarly, Leyland’s DTI at Chindwada in Madhya Pradesh trains SUV drivers for deployment in the mining area. A few years ago, Leyland sourced and trained several transgender people for driving — a laudable move. It is worth mentioning that Mahindra Logistics hired one such transgender person for long-haul trucking.

Last year, the Ghumla administration, one of the most backward districts in Jharkhand, discussed sourcing, training, and deploying young female drivers for last-mile delivery using e-vehicles. Obviously, the administration was anticipating that some big-ticket corporates with deep CSR funds would take up the challenge. However, this has not been fructified as of now.

What about the global scenario? The truck driver shortage is universal. India claims to be 22% short of its requirement. Thus, women are wooed across the globe to fill in this gap. Provincial governments in Canada run Gap in Trucking programs to fund training women in tractor-trailers and provide family assistance. In the United Kingdom, female truck drivers constitute barely one per cent. Women in Trucking Association of the United States claims that 12 per cent of truck drivers are female. Canada claims to have four per cent female truck drivers. Australia’s tally is pegged at one per cent. Three per cent of European truck drivers are female.

Yes, they are there, but they do not constitute a sizeable chunk to make life easier for fleet owners facing perpetual driver shortages.




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