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The destiny of a female driver in India

Photo: Pexels

Women can play a significant role in shaping the future of transportation

By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

March 08, 2024 (IANSlifeWomen today are taking on tough tasks, breaking down gender preconceptions, and making a name for themselves in a variety of professional fields. We are seeing a rise in women's leadership across industries, as well as an increase in the number of women in jobs where they have never before participated.

One such prominent job is that of cab driver, with unwavering persistence and excitement the number of female drivers, both in urban regions and in tier 2 cities has seen its momentum.

As we celebrate International Women's Day let's hear the remarkable journeys of these women, amplifying their voices, and recognising their pivotal role in challenging and reshaping gender norms. These women come from a variety of backgrounds, including single mothers, IIT graduates, entrepreneurial side hustlers, primary breadwinners for their families, and more.

What is it like to be a female driver in India?

Shivani, Delhi: Being a female driver in India has been an enriching experience for me. Every day, I meet riders who are surprised to see a female driver. While there is some negative feedback, most of the interactions with riders are positive and encouraging. 

Neelam, Delhi: As an Uber driver in India is an empowering experience. In recent years, more and more women have joined the profession, indicating a positive shift within the industry. I have noticed a growing number of women driving various vehicles, including buses and ambulances, which is inspiring to see.

Ammu G, Bangalore: To be a female driver in India has its challenges, but it is also rewarding. I joined this profession due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I continue to work as it offers me financial freedom. I believe I have become more confident in my life. 


What motivated you to pursue this career? Can you share with us an anecdote of your experience vs expectations?

Shivani, Delhi: After the loss of my husband, I needed a stable income to support my children financially. With the help of an NGO, I was introduced to Uber and connected with other women drivers associated with the platform. Initially, I had doubts about whether I could pursue this career, but the positive feedback I received from my fellow women drivers motivated me to continue. 

Ammu G, Bangalore: I was motivated to pursue this career primarily for financial reasons. Uber offered me a chance to earn a decent income while also providing the flexibility to balance work and personal life, which is important for me as a single woman.


Is the system designed to defend the rights of female drivers? What modifications in the regulation do you believe should be made?

Shivani, Delhi: In terms of safety and rights, while there are measures in place, I believe more can be done to ensure the protection of female drivers. As for making the driving industry more inclusive, sharing the stories and experiences of other women drivers can encourage more women to consider driving as a viable career option. 

Neelam, Delhi: I believe some modifications can be made to ensure increased safety for women drivers, especially during night shifts. While some safety measures are in place, I believe additional regulations are needed to further increase the protection of female drivers, considering that many safety measures rely on mobile technology, which may not always be accessible in emergencies. 

Ammu G, Bangalore: I have never faced any safety challenges, but a few of my fellow drivers have faced some issues with drunk passengers and shared their experiences. I believe some more measures can be implemented to ensure the safety of female drivers. 


If you had to call an Uber yourself, would you feel safer with a female or male driver?

Neelam, Delhi: If I were to call an Uber for myself, I believe I would feel safer with a female driver, and I have had many female passengers express the same sentiment. Being a female driver helps create a sense of security for passengers, especially women traveling alone.

Ammu G, Bangalore: If I had to call an Uber myself, I would not necessarily feel safer with a female or male driver. Safety is not determined by gender but rather by the individual driver's professionalism and behaviour.


How do you think the driving industry can become more inclusive and supportive of female drivers?

Neelam, Delhi: To make the driving industry more inclusive and supportive of female drivers, education plays a vital role. Many women are unaware of the opportunities available in this profession. By sharing our stories and experiences, we can inspire more women to consider driving as a viable career option.

Ammu G, Bangalore: Providing training on gender sensitivity and implementing policies to address safety concerns can go a long way in creating a more welcoming environment for female drivers.


In your opinion, what role can women play in shaping the future of transportation and driving technologies?

Shivani, Delhi: I believe women have a significant role to play in shaping the future of transportation and driving technologies. We are already seeing more women driving buses, cabs, and autos. As the industry evolves, I am hopeful that more opportunities will open up and we will see increased women participation. 

Neelam, Delhi: Women are already playing a significant role in shaping the future of transportation. I believe that with more encouragement and support, more women will have the courage to enter this field and contribute to its evolution. 

Ammu G, Bangalore: Women can play a significant role in shaping the future of transportation and driving technologies by actively participating in the industry, advocating for their rights, and contributing their unique perspectives and experiences to the development of new technologies and policies.


How do you maintain a work-life balance during irregular hours? 

Shivani, Delhi: Gig work offers flexibility, allowing me to work whenever suits me best. This flexibility has helped me maintain a healthy work-life balance and care for my children while earning a living.


It's crucial to amplify the voices of female drivers in India while recognizing their contributions. Through shared experiences, education, and policy reforms, we can see a silver lining to pave the way for more women in shaping the future of transportation.




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N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe can be contacted at