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In Salmon-Coloured Autos and White Uniforms, Mumbai’s First Women Auto Drivers Are Ready to Go

The first batch of women auto rickshaw drivers start working today after the Maharashtra government reserved 5% of rickshaw permits for women

Culturally, many women in India are held back from employment due to the expectations and gender biases. However, women’s inclusion in the workforce could be majorly beneficial to the country’s economy, with a 2015 study finding it could add $2.9 trillion to its GDP by 2025.

Time has changed and women are taking up all the jobs, breaking every stereotype about gender roles.More women are breaking with traditional roles and entering the workplace in various roles.While the independent woman is the woman of now, safety issues still remain a matter of concern.

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Although Mumbai is considered safer than most cities on the subcontinent, women and visiting tourists often complain about being leered at by male cab and auto drivers. As a solution, pink taxis were introduced, which were driven by women taxi drivers. However not everyone wish to take a taxi for a ride and autos are mostly preferred for a nearby destination.

Thus a scheme was introduced by the Maharashtra government that reserves 5% of rickshaw permits for women. It announced the plan in early 2016, saying that 465 licences would be made available for women in Mumbai and the neighbouring district of Thane.

To start this wonderful initiative, 19 women have been trained by the driving instructor, Sudhir Dhoipode and are ready to hit the roads of Mumbai in their brand new salmon-coloured auto-rickshaws, wearing white uniforms now.

Representative Image – Source

Unlike the pink taxi initiative, the autos driven by woman in Mumbai will ferry both male and women passengers.

Until now, women who belonged to lower economic background and were deprived of education and took up a job of either a cook or domestic help at households. However, this move by the government has encouraged them to step out of their houses and take up a job that can earn them more money.

“This job is much better than doing household work. I can make more money and it helps us secure our futures,” Ms Chaya Mohite told AFP

Currently 40 women are being trained to take up this role. However, almost 500 women showed interest to join the clan.

Featured Image Source – ANI

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