The History of Women in Trucking

Melissa Iniguez
5 minutes

The History of Women in Trucking

In honor of Women's History Month, we decided to explore the history of women in trucking and highlight some of the female drivers who paved the way for future generations.

Women have been driving trucks since World War I, stepping up to fill the jobs when men were drafted into the military. They proved to be just as capable as men in many industries, including trucking. However, once the war ended, women were expected to return to their traditional roles as homemakers, and the trucking industry once again became male-dominated.

Luella Bates

One of the first women to make a name for herself in the trucking industry was Luella Bates. Luella drove a Class B truck for Four Wheel Drive Auto Company from 1918 to 1922. In 1920, she became the first woman truck driver to receive a driver's license in New York. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Four Wheels Drive sent Luella on tours throughout the U.S. "to introduce the idea that the truck was so easy to steer a woman could drive it."

Lillie Elizabeth McGee Drennan

Another pioneer is Lillie Elizabeth McGee Drennan, the first licensed female trucker in Texas. Lillie got into the trucking business during her second marriage. Lillie and her husband started a trucking company in 1928 and transported supplies to oil fields. Their company thrived and soon after they acquired more trucks and hired additional drivers. After their divorce in 1929, Lillie became the sole owner of the Drennan Truck Line.

When Lillie applied for a commercial driver's license, the Railroad Commission was hesitant to grant her request due to her hearing impairment. Lillie believed the real reason was discrimination for being a woman. She successfully argued the case, obtained her license in 1929, and received national recognition and safety awards for her impeccable driving record. When needed, she would drive for 48 hours with no rest or sleep. During World War II, the U.S. Army praised Lillie for her efforts to recruit women truck drivers.

Challenges Faced by Women in the Trucking Industry

Despite drivers like Luella, Lillie, and many others paving the way for other women, there were and continue to be many challenges to overcome. Some of the biggest concerns include harassment, safety, work-life balance, and a lack of facilities designed for women. Organizations such as the Women in Trucking Association work to advocate for women in the industry.

Today, women make up an estimated 13.7% of professional drivers, according to the Women in Trucking's 2022 Index. While there are still challenges to overcome, women have made significant progress in the trucking industry and will continue to do so in the future.

Our Commitment to Empowering Women

At LGT, we recognize the vital role that women play in the transportation industry and are committed to supporting their success. We are proud to have some of the best female drivers on our team. We believe in providing equal opportunities for women and men and actively recruit, train, and support our female drivers. LGT is committed to empowering women and helping them advance in the transportation industry.

LGT is a proud corporate member of the Women in Trucking Association.

Get the Latest...

Tips, advice, inspiration, and more sent right to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.


Contact Us