In Delhi, women set to drive taxis

Over 50 women chauffeurs, in the age group of  18-35 years from disadvantaged communities, who have obtained commercial driving licences had become Delhi’s “pride chauffeurs,”  said Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit here on Saturday.

Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit presenting medal to a woman driver.

Speaking at a function, Parvaz 2012, organised by Azad Foundation, Dikshit said the Foundation had done something which the government was not able to achieve despite several efforts.

Five to six years ago, there was only one woman driver in the city. Now, there are 100 women being trained. Fifty of them have already got their commercial licences, she said.

“I could not have been more proud as driving on Delhi roads is not easy. It has always been a perception that women are responsible for inappropriate driving. These women will help change this view,” said Dikshit.

Social Welfare Minister Kiran Walia said: “These women have helped in bringing about a big change as driving, like some other professions, is never seen in good light. This is an elaborate effort towards promoting peace, justice and empowerment.”

Around 15 women were honoured with the Kushal Mahilla Chalak Samman for their efforts towards driving safely and ferrying women during late hours of the night.  

“Driving as a profession has been historically reserved for men in our society. We have tried to change this perception by creating employment opportunities for women,” said Meenu Vadera, who founded Sakha, a cab service being run by women for women.

Women drivers said they aim at creating a safe environment for other women who travel in the city during night. “Everyday I read and hear about the crimes meted out to women in Delhi. I will soon be driving taxis. I wish to provide safety to young girls and women who are afraid of hiring cab services with male drivers,” said 22-year-old Rita who earns Rs 5,500 a month.

Rita has studied up to Class IX. “I wanted to do something different but knew that I could not because I have no qualifications. I saw an advertisement on TV which encouraged me to enrol for this job. I am confident, as I have worked for over a year now. My husband and parents are proud of me,” she said.

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