Global Increase in Female Forklift Drivers
Female forklift drivers are becoming more and more common, and rightly so. For too long male dominance in worksites and warehouses has gone unchecked; women sometimes even feel that they have no chance of getting a job over a man.
This is wrong. And we believe that empowering women to achieve their goals is vital to ending gender inequality in the workplace. This is our homage to the growing world of women forklift drivers.
How female forklift operators can break into a male-dominated world
The short answer is, much the same as a man. For ten tips on becoming a forklift driver, check out our previous article here. The advice that we provide is by no means gender-specific and would be just as beneficial to read for both men and women. Sadly, it can often be harder for a woman to earn a job at a construction site or in a warehouse simply because of her gender, many do not even try.
Perseverance is key. Do not take no for an answer if you feel you have been the victim of prejudice. If you have been wanting to become a female forklift driver for as long as you can remember, do not feel held back simply because of who you are. If anything, you should feel empowered to be trying to break into a patriarchal industry and should feel as if you are taking the relevant steps needed to end gender inequality altogether. One way of getting ahead is to get to know the products you will be using, a knowledge of different brands such as Caterpillar, Hyster, and JCB may allow you to stand out from the crowd when applying for roles, this applies for both men and women.
Why Are There Fewer Women Forklift Drivers than Men?
Why exactly are there fewer female forklift drivers in the workplace? This is quite a loaded question and is actually part of a larger issue. The real question is, why are there fewer women in industrial job roles? According to GMB, a trade union representing workers across many job roles, only 12.5% of construction job roles are filled by women; and at the current rate of growth in the industry, it will take almost 200 years to achieve gender equality.
Whether they will admit it or not, some employers often favour men when hiring. Of course, they will not admit to this out of fear of being branded a sexist, but it is an issue affecting the construction industry. In 2019 a study by the UPFs department of political and social sciences showed that women are 30% less likely to be considered by a hiring employer. It is quite likely that this figure would be even higher in a study around industrial job roles.
Job specification is not gender-specific, the typical job description for a forklift driver includes factors such as:
- Loading and unloading materials
- Ensuring loads are secured
- Performing equipment checks
- Completing tasks quickly and accurately
None of the things listed in a forklift job role ever relate to gender, so why is there discrimination?
The importance of diversification in the workplace
It is imperative that a workplace features a wide range of employees from a number of different backgrounds. The benefits of diversification in the workplace are vast. Not only do you bring in a large number of different viewpoints, but you will also promote an atmosphere of inclusion and solidarity that can lead to increased efficiency and productivity.
A job should not be given based on who a person is, but rather on what they bring to the table. If a man goes for a job and is significantly less qualified and has less experience than a woman, he should not be offered the job based on his gender. A female forklift driver should also not feel threatened with losing her job simply because a man has been employed. Too often in the construction industry, women feel their jobs are threatened by the presence of a new male employee. Ending this and promoting a vibrant and diverse workforce can make everyone more comfortable, boosting morale and work ethic.
Disproving potential drawbacks of forklift driving for women
Why in the first place do some women completely write themselves off from working in an industrial setting? As previously mentioned, women forklift drivers can be overlooked for jobs, but many do not feel that they can even apply for the role to begin with. The world of forklift driving is incredibly male-dominated, and often for stereotypical reasons.
Some people believe that forklift driving can be dangerous, and it can, but no more dangerous than driving a car. The important thing to remember is that with the correct training and with plenty of practice literally anyone can work with a forklift. For a guide to how forklift training can reduce accidents, check out our article here.
Some potential female forklift drivers are put off by using large machinery. Big forklifts are commonplace in sites that require large loads to be moved. This should not put anyone off. Again, with appropriate training and with plenty of time being put into honing the process, these machines can be operated by anyone.
Another stereotype that is often branded around worksites and industrial job roles is the need for excessive physical strength. Whilst many jobs do require some form of physical labour, if you are being asked to carry or move weights that are physically too imposing, your employer is at fault. Often on sites, the real physical jobs can be done simply with appropriate equipment i.e., forklifts. If anything, this only increases the need for more drivers, some of whom may be female forklift operators. Without people in these roles, some tasks would be simply impossible.
Have pride in championing diversity
If you are wanting to become a female forklift driver then you should be proud. Be proud that you are willing to put yourself out there into an industry that is having to learn to accommodate you. Be proud that you are willing to stand up for what you believe in and have the drive to not take no for an answer. If you would like to browse our range of forklifts, click here. Of, if you have any questions that you may feel we can help with feel free to get in touch.