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You’ll see far more women pilots than women cab drivers. Honestly, if she can fly a plane, then she can damn well drive a piddly car! This situation needs to be rapidly rectified.
It was my first time in Ibiza and it would be an understatement to say that I was excited. Of course, this little Balearic island is famous for its party scene but I had done my homework and knew that there was so much more to it. Suffice it to say that I was looking forward to exploring its historic old town, soaking in the languid atmosphere in San Antonio, eating the traditional Spanish Paella and sashaying to some fabulous music. The blue Mediterranean beckoned, as did the azure blue sky.
The first thing on our list was Old Town. We were a group of five which meant that we needed two small taxis. We managed to hail one without two much trouble.
Just as I was about to slip into the backseat (my husband usually sits in front with the driver), I realized that the taxi was being driven by a woman. Admittedly, I was surprised. After all, a woman taxi driver isn’t a regular sight, is it? Wondering if this was a rare off chance, I glanced back at the other taxi. That one also had a woman in the driving seat. And the one behind it. And the fourth one too.
Even as I was wondering if this was a trend specific to Ibiza, our driver invited me to sit in front with her, while my husband and son slid into the back. She turned on some music and we sped off in the direction of our destination.
Too curious not to, I did end up asking our driver (her name was Angela) whether this was a regular thing in Ibiza. ‘Men, women, both,’ she responded. ‘Here on the port side, you will find many, many women drivers.’ Nodding, I leaned back into the seat. I have to confess that it was certainly nice to be able to sit in front for a change, and make conversation with the driver about the weather and politics and the best places to visit, while my husband and son sat in the back. It was nice to be able to switch roles for once.
Later I got to thinking about the graver side to this issue. If the general reaction to seeing a woman in the driving seat of a taxi is astonishment, then that meant that something was very wrong about our cities.
I mean, where were all the women cabbies?
Was our transport system a ‘No Woman’s Land’, heavily dominated by only men?
Was this why women all over the world felt an inescapable sense of insecurity while stepping out of their homes?
Would we feel safer, more secure, more confident if the person in front of the wheel was a woman?
Yes, our transport system is a glaring example of the gender differentiation that is so prevalent in our society.
Yes, women feel insecure when getting into an unknown vehicle, being driven by an unknown man, particularly at night. We can’t help it, for while we want to believe in the goodness of humanity, the statistics aren’t encouraging.
And finally, yes, we would feel safer, a lot safer, if there were more women drivers on the road. In fact, a recent market research survey revealed that more than 80% women regard safety as the single most important factor when choosing a women’s radio cab service.
There have however, been some positive steps to get more women drivers on the road. Shailja Mittal’s Koala Kabs, SheCab by Shruti Kaushik, TaxShe by Bhavana Pramod and Vandana Suri are some examples (do note that all these initiatives have been solely by women entrepreneurs).
These initiatives though, are too few and far between. Ask yourself? How many times has the Uber or Ola or Blue cab that you ordered, had a women sitting behind the wheel? Almost none! Zilch! I mean, you’ll see far more women pilots than women cab drivers. Honestly, if she can fly a plane, then she can damn well drive a piddly car! Can you begin to imagine how much work is needed to rectify this situation? And there are many professions, too many fields, where women are being rejected, excluded, even in today’s supposedly modern scenario.
And finally, no, we don’t think the crass “women driver” jokes are funny any longer. So next time, think twice before belittling a woman behind the wheel. She’s capable, she’s safe, and she’s “woman” enough to handle her job. Let’s follow the example of that tiny Balearic island and get more Angelas on the road. Our roads will be better places for us.
Image source: YouTube
Rrashima is a senior corporate analyst with over 20 years of experience in the corporate sector. She is also a prolific writer, novelist and poet and her articles, stories and poems are regularly published in read more...
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