Female lorry drivers change gears in Ghana - GulfToday

Female lorry drivers change gears in Ghana

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Abigail Asumadu-Amoah, one of Ladybird Logistics' 21 female employees, drives a tanker truck.

Rumbling along the rutted roads of Ghana at the wheel of her giant truck, Abigail Asumadu-Amoah turns heads but keeps her focus.

She is one of 21 drivers working for Ladybird Logistics, a company that claims to be "the first company globally to employ only female drivers."

In a tough industry dominated by men, the women are changing attitudes.

"What men can do, women can also do, It's (a question of) determination.

Ladybird's all-women team drive 47,000-litre trucks, delivering fuel to Ghana's gold mines.

But for Asumadu-Amoah, 44, the biggest challenges she faces are the state of the pot-holed roads in the West African country.

Fuel thieves

Nearly eight percent of men in Ghana work in the transport and storage sector, according to government figures, compared to only 0.3 percent of women.

But there was a problem, said William Tewiah, managing director of Ghana's Zen Petroleum, a major fuel transport company delivering supplies to industry across the region.

Drivers would fill up their tankers with fuel in Takoradi before driving to mining sites across Ghana.

Extra training

In late 2017, Tewiah approached independent management consultant Payin Marfo to turn his dream of having an all-female truck driving company into a reality, making her Ladybird's managing director.

In October the following year, Ladybird began delivering fuel on behalf of Zen Petroleum to supply one of the gold mines.

Based in Takoradi, Ladybird, which is owned by a group of shareholders, covers three routes currently, the longest of which takes about seven hours.

Inspiration

So far, Ladybird Logistics' only customer is Zen but in time it hopes to expand.

Marfo said that the company planned to more than double the number of drivers by hiring 24 more and increase the size of the fleet.

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Female truck drivers stand at the Ladybird Logistics meeting point before the start of the workday in Takoradi.

"A lot more ladies are showing interest," she said, adding that every week a woman contacted her asking for a job.

"For me, that is the first goal already achieved," she added.

"Globally, women consider trucking as a profession, but in Ghana, we didn't. Now I can see females are considering trucking as a profession."

The company also has a female mechanic on hand, 28-year-old Beatrice Frimpong.

Men have sometimes told her that she was too small or weak for the work and that she should stick to smaller vehicles, she said.

Justice Zoiku, a truck driver filling his tanker in the same fuel depot, said that he was always happy to see the Ladybird drivers on the roads.

"They have patience and take their time to do everything," Zoiku said. "They are doing well."

Zoiku, a proud father, also said that he would be happy if his daughter decided to follow in his footsteps and drive a tanker.

"If she wants to drive I will support her," Zoiku said. "What men can do, women can do it better."

Agence France-Presse