Many in the trucking industry are celebrating the election of Donald Trump as president, thanks to his promises to reduce industry regulation and invest in infrastructure (although his stance on trade could be a problem for an industry so dependent on it.)
As a female professional, however, I have to say I find our president-elect’s apparent attitude toward women troubling.
A month before the election, the Associated Press pointed out that the widely reported footage where Trump brags about groping women was only one example of sexist comments made by the man who is now our president-elect.
“It’s certainly not groundbreaking news that the early victories by the women on ‘The Apprentice’ were, to a very large extent, dependent on their sex appeal.” — Trump wrote in his 2004 book, “How To Get Rich.”
“It must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees.” — Trump to a female contestant in 2013 on an episode of “Celebrity Apprentice.”
“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” — Trump in a September 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, speaking about then-primary rival Carly Fiorina.
Even Rudy Giuliani, a top Trump advisor, called Trump’s comments about groping women “wrong” and “reprehensible,” although he still said Trump was the country’s best choice for president, reported Fox News.
This week I asked Ellen Voie, head of the group Women in Trucking, her thoughts about Trump’s apparent attitude toward women.
“The trucking industry is already benefitting from Mr. Trump’s business expertise as he focuses on our nation’s infrastructure," Voie responded. "All we can do now is hope that he surrounds himself with the best advisors, both men and women, who will ensure that he will respect women as professionals.”
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks has said Trump’s record of hiring women will continue in his administration. “President-elect Trump has a long history of empowering and employing women at the highest levels of his company and obviously we saw this during the campaign as well,” she said, according to Bloomberg.
Who might those women be? A report this week in Fortune notes that Trump’s “rumored cabinet is heavy on white men, but a few women could get seats.”
Women that have been reported as being considered, according to Fortune, include Kelly Ayotte, outgoing senator from New Hampshire; Jan Brewer, the former governor of Arizona; Sarah Palin, John McCain’s vice presidential pick in the 2008 presidential campaign and former governor of Alaska; Mary Fallin, the current governor of Oklahoma; Cynthia Lummis, outgoing member of the House of Representatives from Wyoming; Linda McMahon, a World Wrestling Entertainment executive; Victoria Lipnic, a commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Carol Comer, the commissioner of Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management; Leslie Rutledge, the attorney general of Arkansas; and Pam Bondi, the attorney general of Florida.
In the spirit of highlighting the roles strong women play in our own industry, I thought I’d revisit a few we have interviewed recently:
President and CEO of Brenny Transport and Brenny Specialized, St. Cloud, Minn., Brenny was honored for her approach to bringing younger drivers into the industry and turning them into safe, professional truckers.
Early this year, Daimler Trucks North America named Kary Schaefer general manager, marketing and strategy. We spoke with her after Freightliner unveiled its next-generation Cascadia.
Q&A: J.B. Hunt's Shelley Simpson on Logistics Trends, Diversity and More
Shelley Simpson is executive vice president, chief marketing officer and president of integrated capacity solutions and truckload for J.B. Hunt. Earlier this year, she received the Women In Trucking Association’s Distinguished Woman in Logistics Award for 2016.
And I'll soon be interviewing Ramona Hood, vice president of customer operations, transportation logistics at Genco, a FedEx company, who this week was honored with the sixth annual Influential Woman in Trucking Award, presented by the Women In Trucking Association and Freightliner Trucks.
Our industry needs to attract more women, minorities and young people, to fill seats behind the wheel and to lead trucking companies into the future.