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The trucking industry has long been dominated by men, but throughout history, women have shattered stereotypes and paved the way for future generations of female truck drivers. From Luella Bates, the first licensed commercial truck driver, to Adriesue “Bitzy” Gomez, who fought for better working conditions in the industry, these women have made an indelible mark on the world of trucking. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the stories of these pioneering women and highlight their contributions to the industry.

In the early 1900s, Luella Bates (1897-1985) paved the way for women in trucking by becoming the first licensed commercial truck driver. Bates worked as a driver, mechanic, and truck inspector for the Four Wheel Drive Auto Co. in Wisconsin during World War I.

Luella Bates

Despite the end of the war and the return of men to the workforce, Bates found a passion in her work and continued to drive and test trucks for the company. Recognizing her hard work and dedication, Four Wheel Drive Auto Co. made Bates a goodwill ambassador and sent her on a transcontinental tour in 1920 as part of their “Safety First” campaign. During the tour, Bates visited 25 towns and even became the first woman to receive a driver’s license in New York State.

Following in Bates’ footsteps, Lillie Elizabeth Drennan (1897-1974) became the first licensed female truck driver and owner of her own trucking company in 1928. Along with her husband, Drennan established the Drennan Truck Line during the oil boom. She later became the sole owner of the company.

Lillie Elizabeth Drennan

During World War II, Rusty Dow (1894-1989) made history by becoming the first woman truck driver for the U.S. Army Engineers/Alaska Defense Command. In 1944, she drove a fully loaded truck the entire length of the Alaska Highway (1,560 miles) in just seven days.

Rusty Dow

Fast forward to the 1970s, and Adriesue “Bitzy” Gomez (1943 – 2015) was part of the Coalition of Women Truck Drivers fighting for better working conditions in the industry. The coalition tackled issues like sexual harassment and the lack of women’s bathrooms at truck stops. Their work was crucial in creating better opportunities for women in the trucking industry today.

Adriesue “Bitzy” Gomez

These pioneering women paved the way for women in trucking and demonstrated that with hard work and dedication, anyone can achieve success in any industry. Their legacy continues to inspire women today to pursue their passions and break down barriers.


Author Marketing

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