Checking Your Blind Spots: Identifying Gender Gaps in the Workplace

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Checking Your Blind Spots



It’s no secret that women are under-represented in the trucking and logistics industry. While the broader Canadian workforce is split fairly evenly between men and women, women make up only 16% of the trucking workforce and a mere 4% of drivers. Recent research by Trucking HR Canada has shown that numerous factors influence women’s desire to work in our industry.

The biggest barriers to women’s participation are:

• An unappealing image when compared to other industries;

• Lack of awareness about the many different jobs opportunities;

• Skepticism about women’s opportunities to advance in trucking;

• On-the-job safety concerns related to harassment and other discriminatory behaviours;

• Job impacts on work-life balance and family responsibilities.

But there’s good news, too. Our research uncovered evidence of positive impressions of the industry, including:

• High level of alignment between the qualities career-seeking women value most in a job and what the trucking sector has to offer;

• Positive experiences and success stories from industry veterans;

• High confidence that women’s participation in the industry will increase over time;

• Recognition that many employers are taking steps to address equity concerns.

This toolkit will help employers understand the issues and perspectives that affect gender equity in their workplaces. It includes the following tools to help you assess your company’s current state with respect to gender equity:

• Questions to prompt an honest discussion about gender equity with your leadership team;

• A gender-focused SWOT analysis framework;

• Survey questions to deploy within your teams;

• Guidelines for policy implementation and review.


First, you need an honest commitment to gender equity and bridging the gender gap within your organization for your teams, customers and the general public to trust your intentions.

Get started with the following steps:


LEADERSHIP BUY-IN: articulate your leadership team’s commitment internally and externally;

2. ASSIGN RESPONSIBILITY: Appoint a champion or team of champions to ensure actions are meaningful and on-going;

3. SET GOALS: Establish long-term and short-term goals to track progress and success;

4. SEEK INPUT: Ask for feedback from your teams on what you’re doing well and where improvement is needed.


Questions to Facilitate Honest Discussions

To understand where your company stands with respect to gender equity, start by having an honest discussion with senior leaders. Asking tough questions can help you understand where action needs to be taken. Here are some questions you can use to facilitate that discussion.

• Do all employees feel welcome and included? Do they feel like they belong? What circumstances might cause them to not feel included or like they belong?

• Do we provide the tools and training required to help women succeed in nontraditional roles?

• Are gender inequities currently addressed within the organization? When, how often, and by whom?

• Is there a champion for gender equity initiatives within our organization? Is it the right person? Are other people required to help move these initiatives forward and gain more buy-in?

• What safety concerns might exist for women that don’t exist for men?

• Do the actions and behaviours of the leadership team support or contradict the company’s commitment to gender equity?

• Who do our policies and practices benefit most and why? What practices might restrict women from thriving here?

• Are there stereotypes of women that could be driving our decision-making and practices? What are they?

• What are some of the advantages we could gain as an employer by focusing our efforts on attracting and retaining more women?

• Is access to training, development, information, systems, and leadership consistent for all employees regardless of job function and type?

• Are our pay practices equitable?

• Does our leadership team and board reflect our commitment to gender equity?

• Are we providing training to help employees recognize discrimination and unconscious bias?

• What specific efforts are we making to overcome the gender gap here? What’s missing?

• Do we have measures and metrics (statistics) that will illustrate when we are bridging the gap?


Here are some examples of metrics your company can track and analyze by gender. They can help you quantify the gender gap and identify areas of opportunity within your organization.

× Employee turnover;

× Absenteeism;

× Management, leadership, and board participation;

× Participation by occupation type;

× Candidate applications for new roles;

× Promotions;

× Employee complaints — by type and impact;

× Pay equity — comp-ratios and market gaps.

You may also want to look at the impact of age, marital status, and education on the above.



• What identified gaps exist in our practices that other organizations (within and outside of the industry) do?

Conducting a SWOT Analysis

The SWOT Analysis is a commonly used framework to help identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats within an organization. It can also help you dig deeper into specific issues, such as the gender gap. When answering the questions below, consider different perspectives (i.e. clients, applicants, leaders, employees, vendors).


• In what ways do we already support women in our workplace? List them all.

• What do female employees appreciate about our workplace?

• Are there focused efforts being made to help eliminate the gender gap here? What are they?

• Who champions our efforts in this area?

• Have we achieved any recognition or awards for being a best-in-class employer for women?

• What are some of the limitations we face for employing women in our organization or within specific roles in the organization?

• Do our statistics suggest any significant gaps – for example within a specific occupation (truck drivers) or within our employment practices – (promotions, turnover, absenteeism)?

• What are the real and/or potential biases that exist currently within the organization that need to be addressed? Consider the following: male/female, management/nonmanagement, occupation type.

• What are some of the negative industry impressions our company needs to overcome to encourage more women to work for us?


• What can the company gain from improved gender equity practices? Consider the perspective of customers, vendors, candidates, and employees.

• What specific problems can we solve with more focused and intentional effort on gender equity within our company?

• Is there an opportunity for media coverage or awards associated with strong gender practices?

• Are there subsidies or grants available for focused gender efforts? THREATS

• What are our competitors doing better than we are?

• What threat does this pose to the business?

• Are there gaps in legislative compliance that we need to be aware of and fix? What are they?

• Is there a possibility for negative PR? What could it be and how strong is the possibility?

• How does our gender gap impact customer and vendor perceptions of the company?


For each of the statements below, select a rating from 1 to 5 where 1 = Strongly Disagree and 5 = Strongly Agree.

Gender Equity Employee Survey Questions

Direct feedback from your team can clarify how gender equity is perceived at your company. This can help you understand the impacts of your practices and policies and pinpoint where to prioritize efforts.

(Note: replace “Company” with the name of your organization.)


Do you identify as:

O Male

O Female

O Nonbinary

O Prefer not to say

Asking for respondents to self-identify will allow you to understand experience and opinion differences between male and female employees.

“Company” prioritizes gender equity and gender equity issues. 1 2 3 4 5 Senior Leadership at “Company” champions gender equity. 1 2 3 4 5
manager demonstrates through action that gender equity is a top priority at “Company.” 1 2 3 4 5 There are clear opportunities for advancement for me here. 1 2 3 4 5 I feel like belong here. 1 2 3 4 5 I feel physically safe here. 1 2 3 4 5 I feel psychologically safe here. 1 2 3 4 5 My skills and capabilities are fully utilized here. 1 2 3 4 5 I am comfortable reporting a personal experience with genderbased discrimination, violence, harassment, or sexual harassment. 1 2 3 4 5 I am comfortable reporting an instance of gender-based discrimination, violence, harassment or sexual harassment that I witnessed. 1 2 3 4 5

Please respond to the questions below by answering yes or no.

have personally experienced gender-based discrimination at “Company.”

For each of the statements below, select a rating from 1 to 5 where 1 = Definitely Would Not and 5 = Definitely Would Agree.

How likely are you to recommend “Company” as a place to work for men?

Yes No

Yes No have witnessed gender-based discrimination of someone else while they were employed at “Company.”

have witnessed gender-based discrimination of a vendor, customer, or supplier of “Company.”

have experienced violence or harassment at “Company” based on my gender.

have experienced sexual harassment at “Company.”

Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

If you answered yes to any of the above, please provide any details you’re comfortable sharing in the text box below.

How likely are you to recommend “Company” as a place to work for women?

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

What in your opinion is “Company” doing well in terms of attracting, promoting, and retaining women? Please write your thoughts in the text box below.

Do you know how to report any personal or witnessed experiences of gender-based discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment?

Yes No

What efforts can “Company” take to better attract, promote, and retain women? Please write your thoughts in the text box below.


Policy Review Guidelines

Policies provide guidance to support good conduct in the workplace and clarify expectations for employers, managers, and employees. They establish standards and ensure consistency across business operations.

Outdated policies may reinforce biases and limit your ability to achieve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) goals, such as gender equity.

The following guidelines can help you review and improve company policies to support equity goals.


Even well-intentioned policies can house underlying biases that undermine equity goals and disadvantage female employees. We recommend conducting an organizationwide policy review to address those concerns. Consider establishing a project team with diverse perspectives to lead the review. When reviewing policies, reflect on the following:

• How might this policy impact men and/or women differently?

• Are any gender-based stereotypes expressed within the policy?

• Does the policy use genderinclusive language?

• Is there something that can be included within the policy to help us achieve our goals related to the current gender gap?

• Are behaviour expectations that support gender inclusivity outlined in relevant policies?


The following policies form a solid foundation to support gender equity in the workplace. Some are mandatory for federally regulated workplaces, but all are recommended for organizations that want to show they are taking gender equity seriously. Use the links below for templates from Trucking HR Canada to help you develop many of these policies.

• Pay Equity Policy

• Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Policy

• Medical Leave Policy

• Personal Leave Policy

• Flexible Work and/or Remote Work Policy

• Parental Leave Policy

• Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy

• Code of Conduct

• Health and Safety Policy (including Psychological Safety)

• Recruiting and Hiring Policy (including Promotions)

• Training and Development Policy

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Next Steps

This toolkit is meant to help you understand and define your company’s current state with respect to gender equity. Once you’ve completed your gap analysis, it’s time to take action:

• Organize the data you gathered into themes to help you prioritize and address specific areas of concern.

• Engage diverse team members to brainstorm solutions and generate ideas.

• Look to other industries for proven actions and strategies that might also work for you.

• Liaise with other organizations to determine if there are industry-wide actions that can be taken to make a larger impact.

• Communicate your action plans and any successes internally and externally to demonstrate on-going commitment and progress.

For more support in achieving your equity goals, check out Trucking HR Canada’s HR Resource Library.


Funding for this project is made possible thanks to the federal Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) program.

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