Women’s share in driving licences issued between April-August only 5% in UP
Gender stereotypes are largely blamed for a low number of women seeking a driving licence and actually steering a vehicle.Updated: Sep 17, 2019 12:13 IST
Only a small fraction of women appears to be driving vehicles in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state, according to data available with the transport commissioner’s office. This is the situation even though women are not prohibited from driving in India unlike in Saudi Arabia where such a curb was in place till less than a year ago.
In Uttar Pradesh, women applicants accounted for only a little more than 5% of the over 10 lakh driving licences issued between April and August this year, the same data showed.
Additional transport commissioner (IT) VK Singh admitted the number of women seeking DL was very low. “This is true. The number of women coming to obtain a DL is very low. But all eligible women who want to get a DL are provided (one) without any inconvenience to them,” he said.
The state government has begun a centralised dispatch of all driving licences by post to applicants from April this year. The data procured from the transport commissioner’s office shows that 1,013,712 non-professional DLs were dispatched to applicants in different districts between April and August.
But the women’s share was 52,091, which is only 5.14% of all the DLs under this category.
The women’s share was also lower in the professional (commercial) DLs. Women got 60 of the 4,155 professional driving licences during the same period and this was only 1.59% of the total number of DLs under this category.
Gender stereotypes are largely blamed for a low number of women seeking a driving licence and actually steering a vehicle.
“I have noticed women in general do not get the support and encouragement from their family members in their endeavour to learn driving because their fathers or husbands feel women cannot be good drivers,” says Ankur Gupta of Rama Motor Training School, Indiranagar. He has been running the institute for 18 years.
“I have often seen many men discouraging their wives by saying that driving is not their cup of tea because of their gender after the car used to learn driving bumps into an object even once,” Gupta adds. He said independent women or women heading their families had no issues with driving.
An analysis of the DL data further revealed that in the non-professional category, the districts of Lucknow (44,855), Ghaziabad (41,327) and Kanpur Nagar (35,055) were the top three districts in issuance of the DLs between April and August. They also led in the number of DLs issued to women in the same order.
Kanpur Nagar had the lion’s share (1,496) of the total 4,154 professional DLs issued in the state during the period. Meerut (401) and Fatehpur (230) were the two other leadings districts in this category. Of the total 60 women applicants for professional driving licence, 40 were in Kanpur Nagar alone. The only other districts where women were issued professional DLs were Muzaffarnagar (1), Ghaziabad (3), Meerut (5), Shahjahanpur (1), Hapur (1), Ambedkar Nagar (2), Ayodhya (1) and Fatehpur (1).
Saudi Arabia did not allow its women to drive till less than a year ago. But when permission finally came, there was a surge in women seeking a DL there, according to a news report in Saudi Gazette, a newspaper published from Jeddah, in its January 27, 2019 edition, Six months after the decision to allow women driving took effect in Saudi Arabia, the number of females obtaining driving licences rapidly increased, the report added.
“According to information provided by the general department of traffic, the total number of licences issued reached over 40,000 (in five months),” the newspaper reported.
Saudi Arabia’s population is 3.29 crore, which is 17 crore less than that of UP.
First Published: Sep 16, 2019 20:22 IST