Women in the state capital are revving up to breach a male bastion and hit the streets as chauffeurs. Ready to enter a different field, these drivers are practising their rides and understanding Lucknow’s geography to ensure comfortable drives for clients.
The women – who can drive commercial vehicles, school vans, private cars etc – after being through the training process are looking for assignments.
FICCI FLO had undertaken the initiative of training women in view of the growing demand for professional drivers in the city.
Six drivers are ready in the first batch, and each of them is a fighter in their own respect. One of them is Sunita Sahu who wants to drive to facilitate her daughter’s medical education. “My husband doesn’t do anything and I have the sole responsibility of running the family. My daughter is in Class 12 and aims to become a doctor. I want her dream to come true and thus decided to take up the challenge,” she says.
Sunita had been involved in door-to-door surveys carried out by companies. But that wouldn’t allow her enough income to meet the expenses of her daughter’s education in a medical college.
“Driving is a skilled job and can ensure us decent income. More than that, the job would allow us show the world that we are no less than men,” says Shagufta Asif, a mother of two. She was shown the door by her parents in law who allegedly ill-treated her. And now, she is bringing up her children on her own.
“Women can do everything… then why not driving? We have been focusing on skill development of women and driving is part of it. Now that the women are trained, we would first employ them (part-time) for our own vehicles, make them perfect in driving and then get them commercial licences so that they can drive commercial vehicles on a full-time basis,” said Anju Narain, chairperson, FICCI FLO Lucknow and Kanpur chapter.
To begin with, the women will drive during office hours and within the city limits. Gradually, depending on their interests, they would make the choice of their working conditions, time etc.
“Individual women driving on Lucknow roads isn’t new. But having professional women drivers for vehicles is certainly a new trend in the city. I am sure it will pick up and city roads will witness more women drivers,” said Lama Chandra Nigam, an academician.
“I had been looking for a woman driver to drop my daughters to school every day. With cases against male drivers rising, we don’t allow our girls to go with drivers alone. Introduction of women drivers will solve the problem,” said Garima Srivastava, an engineer.