"if you're an Indian female it makes it just that little bit harder."
An Indian trucker based in Australia has revealed what it is like to be a female driver in the male-dominated trucking industry.
Sandeep Kaur, aged 27, grew up in the town of Goraya, Punjab, but moved to Brisbane as an international student in 2013.
She began her driving journey with smaller trucks in 2016.
Initially, Ms Kaur struggled to break into the industry and now completes interstate trips to the likes of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide in a B-double truck.
Ms Kaur explained: “I didn’t get a job for like three months. It was really hard. Just because you’re a female people think that you can’t drive and they don’t want to give you a go.
“And if you’re an Indian female it makes it just that little bit harder.”
She stated that truck driving was “not as difficult” as she thought and said “your gender doesn’t matter once you’re on the road”.
“People are going to tell you that you can’t but once you know that you can then nobody can stop you.”
Ms Kaur said it has been a “rewarding experience” that offered flexibility and good pay.
“It’s really good if you love driving, the pay is good and you get to see the countryside when you drive interstate.”
The Indian trucker said it can be a “real challenge” that requires “courage and a passion for driving”.
However, Ms Kaur revealed that the job does come with some negative aspects.
She told the Daily Mail: “It gets pretty lonely and it’s very emotionally challenging, sometimes I’m only in Brisbane for one day to see my friends.
“When I have to say goodbye to them it gets really sad.”
She has encouraged other women to think about a career in the truck driving industry.
Ms Kaur added:
“There’s nothing to worry about, it’s all safe and all good. If you love driving you should definitely give it a go.”
She credits her family and community in India for encouraging her to pursue her “big rig dream”.
Ms Kaur’s mother Manjeet has managed their family since her father passed away. She said her mother is her “biggest inspiration” and her family continues to support her.
“They never thought I’d go for driving but they never told me not to do it, they were okay with everything and said, ‘Do whatever you want to do’.”
Looking to the future, Ms Kaur hopes to run her own fleet of heavy vehicles.