A ride in the mountains: driving in India still remains a male job
When society determined the work of boys and girls, then the name of the girl was erased from every work that creates a sense of self-reliance and independence.
Driving a vehicle is one such job, it not only gives a person speed but also gives freedom to take decisions at every moment, the driver’s decision at every turn decides the way forward.
Women drivers in India
Driving in India still remains a predominantly male job. The number of women sitting in the driving seat is very less. Till the year 2019, there were about 20 crores 6 lakh driving license holders in which the share of women was only 6.8 percent.
Kerala has the maximum number of female drivers in India, while Uttarakhand comes at number fifteen. Till the year 2019, only 26 thousand women were issued driving licenses in the hilly state of Uttrakhand.
Story of a girl Anjali, from a small village Pinglo in Bageshwar Uttrakhand
In a society where decision-making is limited to men only, how could it think of putting a woman in the driving seat? But some families took the initiative, and the girls did wonders.
Anjali of Pinglon village in the Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand was inspired by her family members to ride a scooter. Most of the male members of her family are serving in the Indian Army. In such a situation, all the household work is handled by the women of the house.
Anjali told Ground Report that she was taught to ride a scooter by her uncle, and she has gained confidence since she started riding a scooter. Now she can come and go wherever she wants. She likes to go to college, shop for the family, take her family members to the city, and help people in the village in case of medical emergencies. Now she does not have to rely on public transport. Learning Scooty has made her life easier.
Anjali’s mother says that her daughter rides the scooter safely, and she is not afraid to sit behind her. She also wanted to learn to drive, but her thinking was that ‘I have to cut grass, what will I do after learning to drive, today I regret it, but now it is too late’.
A ride in the mountains
Anjali says that ‘one who drives in the mountains can drive anywhere, in the beginning, I was scared because the roads here are very dangerous and has sharp turns, you will find potholes everywhere. But now it doesn’t seem so difficult. If you drive slowly and comfortably, the path becomes easier.’
As of now, driving for girls is not as acceptable in rural areas as compared to cities. Anjali says that people stare at her when she goes out in the market, “I used to wonder why girls are stared at like this. But now I don’t care and do my work. Often people overtake on the road too, just to scare a bit, but there are not many such people.’
Anjali says that ‘girls are considered weak drivers, while we drive very carefully. Various memes and jokes are made on the driving skills of girls, which she does not like.’
Stereotypes about women drivers
Let us tell you that not only in India, but many countries consider women as bad drivers. In Saudi Arabia, women got the right to drive in the year 2017. In China and South Korea, parking spaces designated for women are still made oversized, believing that women are bad drivers.
Men dominate the cab driving profession all over the world. App-based taxi service Uber has only 17 percent of female drivers registered worldwide.
It’s a long-held stereotype that women are lousy drivers. But gender never determines one’s driving abilities. Research has revealed that in most countries around the world, women are better drivers than men.
- According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways India, fewer women than men are responsible for road accidents and fatalities.
- In the year 2017, 72 percent of men accounted for traffic offenses in the UK. Despite the fact that the number of male and female drivers on the road is almost equal in the UK.
- As per the same research, men accounted for 84 percent of drunk driving offenses and 78% of speeding offenses.
Like Anjali, many more girls want to learn scooters, bikes, and cars, and their families are helping them too.
The pace of change is a bit slow in villages as compared to cities, but it is expected that this picture will also change with time.
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