Not just for men: meet three Arizona women who enjoy driving big trucks

Posted at 5:09 AM, Jul 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 15:18:31-04

You put your garbage out certain times of the week and know the garbage man will pick it up. But, maybe it's a garbage woman doing the job.

For Karen Anderson, this is just a small part of her work day, giving her truck a once over before she hits the road.

"I love to drive big trucks," says Anderson. She's been driving a Waste Management garbage truck for seven years.

She has five kids and plans to ride this job out until retirement.

"This job right here, this is one that women don't do," she said.

It's true, there's very few women who drive garbage trucks. As a whole, women only make up five-percent of the trucking industry.

"I have customers come up and ask me a question and they're like, 'Oh God, you're a girl,'" said Anderson.

Rebecca Cota also knows that feeling of all the double-takes and questions.

"You're going against stereotypes," said Cota. "You're getting into an age old industry that's been dominated by men."

It's an aspect these two women hope will change.

Over the next seven years, the trucking industry is expected to see a shortage of 175,000 drivers. It is hard work but these women say the pay-off is  good. They're paid well, have medical benefits and are home every night to spend time with their family. They're also giving back to the community.

"Police officers do one thing," said Stevie Bereiter, a Waste Management area safety specialist. "Firefighters do another thing. They're a blip in your day. We're a part of your day, every single day and you don't even know about it," said Bereiter.

Anderson agrees. Women can do the job.

"They think this is a man's world, but they can get in here too," she said.