On the road to gender equality? Gender-integrating processes in the truck driver profession
The proportion of women has significantly increased in several previously male-dominated professions over the past decades, such as doctors and lawyers. What these have in common is that they are well-paid, high-status careers that require higher education. But what is it that is causing women to also increase in numbers within several traditionally male-dominated working-class occupations, specifically within the profession of truck drivers? In Sweden, the profession of truck driver is currently made up of around eight percent women.
However, there are good reasons to believe that this figure will increase considerably in the coming years. The growing interest in the profession is evident, for example, in the Automotive and Transport program of high schools, where 24 percent of the admitted students in the fall of 2020 were women. We now know quite a bit about the mechanisms that create and sustain gender inequality in the workplace. However, we don't have as much knowledge about what happens when gender equality improves. Therefore, more understanding is needed about how gender-integrating processes function and how gender norms and patterns in the professional world can change and be challenged.
The overarching aim of the study is to investigate how gender-integrating processes in male-dominated blue-collar jobs can be understood and explained, and thus how gender equality can be improved. The study is conducted using qualitative research methodology based on women's narratives and experiences of the truck driving profession and its work organizations. The empirical material consists of participant observations, interviews with women working as truck drivers, and key individuals with good knowledge about the industry, gender equality issues, and its development over time.