In a field still largely dominated by men, a group of women in UP’s capital Lucknow are perfecting their driving skills and brushing up on their knowledge of the city’s geography to become chauffeurs.
An initial batch of six women, skilled in driving all kinds of vehicles, including commercial vehicles, school vans and private cars, are ready to start their new profession.
The women have completed their training with FICCI FLO, the women’s wing of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. FLO has been instrumental in working towards the economic empowerment of women through projects and initiatives throughout the country.
The majority of women in the programme lack support from their families, and in some cases are the sole breadwinners and caregivers in their families. The programme is working to ensure these women are supported in this respect.
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“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,” Sunita Sahu, who wants to be able to support her daughter’s medical education, tells the Hindustan Times.
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Women driving in Lucknow are nothing new but professional women drivers is still largely unheard of. Those behind the endeavour are hoping that these women will kickstart a new trend for the city and see more women chauffeurs on the roads of Lucknow.
Anju Narain, chairperson of FICCI FLO for the Lucknow and Kanpur chapters was reported by Hindustan Times as saying, “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.”
You can find out more about the work of FICCI FLO here.