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Where Are All the Female Truck Drivers?

MAKER Andra Rush leads the largest female-owned business in Michigan: Rush Trucking.

Her company employs 4,000 employees — many of whom are Native American — across 26 locations. Rush attributes much of her company's success to its diverse people.

"I think diversity is being recognized as a business imperative by more and more large companies, so I am excited about where the future is going," Rush said.

This future that she is talking about might be arriving in the U.K. as the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is encouraging more women to gear toward the trucking industry.

According to a Twitter poll, the FTA asked women if they were willing to drive a 44-ton truck, as less than 1 percent of truckers are female. According to their press release featured on Truck Yeah, the poll revealed that 79 percent of the 17 respondents voted 'yes.'

Even with only handful of responses on Twitter, the FTA states on their website that younger women wanting to enter the profession is improving with 15 percent aged between 21 and 25. They also believe it is important to explore why more women aren't coming into the industry.

"These figures are encouraging as it is essential that more women are recruited," said Sally Gilson, FTA Skills Policy Development Manager. "We believe that one of the biggest barriers for would-be truck drivers is the cost of gaining a license and training — around £3,000."

Another reason why less than 1 percent of U.S. truckers are female, as a Jezebel article noted last year, is because many women reported incidents of sexism along with physical and sexual abuse in their truck driving experiences.

Groups like the Women In Trucking Association (WTA) are trying to make the industry safer for women. Along with the already provided live demonstrations of self defense strategies, the WTA is also suggesting in-cab video cameras and alarm systems.

With an already long history of driver shortages in the trucking industry, only time will tell if more women go into this field, and if the FTA and WTA efforts will play a significant role. For now, get to know Rush by watching her exclusive MAKERS story about how she has pioneered female trucking leadership in the U.S.

NEXT: Women-Only Transportation »

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Photo Credit: Getty Images