USA-based Filipina truck driver breaks gender barriers, inspires others in male-dominated field

  • , by Balikbayan Store
  • 1 min reading time

Jonalyn Johns, an overseas Filipino worker in the United States, has defied stereotypes and thrived in the challenging realm of 18-wheeler truck driving. Johns maneuvers through the highways, ensuring deliveries of goods across various parts of the US, a task typically dominated by men.

Originally a single parent in the Philippines, Johns moved to the US with her husband, seeking better opportunities for their family. Recalling her journey, Johns shared, “When I came here, I didn’t want to bring my child because I was a single mom... My mother-in-law took care of my child.”

Before obtaining her work permit, Johns accompanied her husband to trucking sites, where her interest in driving big rigs blossomed. Despite facing skepticism and intimidation, Johns was determined to master driving the stick shift, a preference uncommon among truckers.

“One needs to practice and practice. The more you do it, the more you get better at it,” Johns emphasized, acknowledging the challenges, especially in backing up the truck's trailer.

However, Johns’ journey was marred by instances of sexism and racism from some colleagues. “Some would say, ‘Oh, you need to go back home to China,’ but I’m not from China,” she recalled, highlighting the need to address such discrimination.

Finding balance between work and family, Johns draws motivation from her daughter. “I need to do this for you so I can give you a better life… I want her to be proud of me,” Johns expressed, reflecting on her aspirations for her family's future.

Despite encountering hurdles along the way, Johns remains steadfast in her pursuit of success. “Dapat may pangarap po tayo, may goals tayo... i-try niyo po before niyo i-give up,” she encouraged, offering words of wisdom to those facing similar challenges.

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