Brisbane-based Sandeep Kaur is breaking the gender stereotype associated with heavy vehicle drivers. She drives a B-double truck and cherishes what she has accomplished in this male-dominated industry.
Sandeep Kaur is a turban-wearing Sikh woman who has been driving trucks for the last four years.
She is one of the very few women in Australia who have gone on to pursue a career in the male-oriented trucking industry.
- Brisbane-based Sandeep Kaur is breaking the gender stereotype associated with heavy vehicle drivers
- After having three years of hands-on experience with small trucks Ms Kaur now travels interstate in a massive B-double
- She came to Australia as an international student from India in 2013.
She drives through many interstate routes starting from Brisbane to other big cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
In an interview with SBS Punjabi she spoke about the advantages as well as challenges in the life of a heavy vehicle driver.
“It has been quite a fascinating journey so far. I liked it because I am not an office type of person who needs to sit indoors behind a desk all day,” she says.
“This is not as difficult as I thought it to be. All you have to do is to drive your load and finish the given task. You are your own boss. Your gender doesn’t matter here.”
Ms Kaur had to face many challenges before making this big headway in the trucking industry.
“It is all about breaking the stereotypes. The first barrier is your own mind. Once you overcome that, everything else becomes so simple,” she says.
“If you want to pursue this career you need a bit of courage, self-motivation, and a passion for driving. It could be a real challenge when you drive down a lonely stretch of highway for long hours on an interstate assignment.”
Ms Kaur says she finds this job a very ‘rewarding experience’ as it offers flexibility with good pay.
“It serves my economic needs. I am getting more than double or sometimes even triple the amount that I used to get in other jobs. This is the reason why I consider it as a long-term career option,” she adds.
There are no regrets. In fact, I wish could have started this career a little earlier.
Ms Kaur said that she wants to see more women achieving financial independence through the opportunities available in the trucking industry.
“There are many companies who want to reduce the gender gap in their workplaces but there are no women who want to avail these opportunities,” she says.
While talking about the obstacles that women drivers are facing within the Indian-Australian community, she says that it is the socio-economic fabric of the society that often convinces women to do what they have been doing for many generations.
“I have reached a stage where what others say doesn’t bother me at all! All I do is focus and that’s even better when I am on road behind the driving wheel,” she says.
You often listen to people who say this is not for you – but really, this is Australia where you can pursue what you want to, and let it be your career or any other dreams!
Ms Kaur is thankful to her family and community members who encouraged and supported her to live her ‘big rig dream’.
“I am working for a Melbourne-based company that is operated by people from my own community. I am very thankful to its owners who have shown confidence in me,” she says.
Ms Kaur came to Australia as an international student from India in 2013.
Hailing from a small town Goraya in Punjab, she faced many difficulties and personal challenges.
Her father died when she was very young, leaving her mother to manage their family despite many financial hurdles.
“My mother is my inspiration. She always encourages me to stay strong especially when the odds are not in my favour,” she says.
“We are not in this world to prove anything to anyone, but if you take it as a challenge then it can help you achieve your realistic goals.”
She aims to run her own fleet of heavy vehicles in ten years time.
To listen to the full interview with Ms Kaur, click here or on the player at the top of the page.