(NewsNation) — Move over Barbie! There is another doll hoping to inspire the next generation of women.
Created by Women in Trucking, the doll is designed to inspire women to join the trucking industry. The doll, named Clare, is 13 inches tall with blonde hair and wearing the official women in trucking cap with an “I heart trucking” tee. WIT’s mission is to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry.
“One of the issues that we had was how do we reach the next generation? How do we let them know that there are great jobs and that they can do it? And so I always wanted a truck driver doll, and we tried to get Barbie to do it and we couldn’t get any interest from Barbie,” WIT President/CEO Ellen Voie said on “Morning in America.” “One day I happen to be sitting in a sky club and talk started talking to a woman sitting next to me. And she was president of HABA USA. And we created the doll. And there she is.”
The pandemic has made trucker shortages more severe as demand to move freight reaches historic highs. The American Trucking Associations, a large industry trade group, estimates that the nation is short about 80,000 drivers. This comes as Walmart said it is raising pay for its 12,000 truck drivers to entice new hires. The starting range for new drivers will now be between $95,000 and $110,000, Walmart said last week.
“Women just didn’t consider themselves in a truck. And they’d see a truck going down the road and never even occurred to them that they could do it,” Voie said in part. “We need women to tell their stories and talk about their jobs and how much they love them. That brings more women in.”
Voie says new trucking opportunities in the industry by carriers make the job even more appealing to new truckers, saying you don’t need to be on the road all the time to make a living.
“There are so many short-haul opportunities. You can haul trash, you could help deliver parts in the city, you could take chips, you could go to grocery stores. There’s so many jobs where you can be home every day, put your kids on the bus, watch them play ball in the afternoon,” Voie said. “So, again, you really need to ask a lot of questions and find out what carriers are offering before you make those decisions.”
Voie stressed that the industry has evolved significantly over the years from safety to work-life balance, saying, “This isn’t your grandpa’s trucking industry anymore.”
“The industry has changed a lot, there’s so much more technology on the trucks that makes them much safer, makes it much easier to operate. Also, the pay is the same whether you’re a female or a male, it doesn’t matter, the pay is the same. Because you’re either paid by the hour, the mile, the load,” Voie said. “Companies are really doing a lot of work to get drivers home, so much more. So work-life balance. And there are jobs where you can like haul trash or you know, make deliveries during the day and be home at night with your kids.”
Voie said now is a great time to start in the trucking industry amid skyrocketing pay and the pay equity between men and women.
“The pay has been going up a lot and it’s a great job,” Voie said. “It’s really something that women can do.”
These interviews have been edited for clarity and length.