Celebrating women on wheels

By Esther Muhozi
On 29 March 2024 at 06:09

Today, as I was brought to work on a motorcycle by a woman, I experienced a profound sense of fulfillment that I struggle to fully articulate. Her driving was a perfect blend of care and tenderness, adhering strictly to all road regulations. She waited patiently for pedestrians to cross, demonstrating a level of respect and safety consciousness that is often amiss on our roads. As a woman myself, I was deeply inspired. This experience made me wonder why such encounters are so rare in my life, and it led me to reflect on the broader significance of women’s presence in the transportation sector.

In Kenya, a friend introduced me to an innovative concept that aligns closely with my experience today: a taxi service exclusively operated by women, for women. Named An-Nisa, which means ’The Women’ in Arabic, this service is more than just a transportation option.

It represents a safe haven for women and children, especially those traveling at night, who seek the security and comfort that comes from a service sensitive to their needs and concerns. With the taxi-hailing app taking only a minimal cut from each trip, it also stands as a testament to the empowerment of women drivers, offering them a dignified and lucrative career path.

The existence of An-Nisa and my encounter today are not merely isolated phenomena. They are part of a growing recognition of the need for inclusive and safe transportation options that cater specifically to the vulnerabilities and challenges faced by women in public spaces. This recognition goes beyond safety; it is about empowering women, not just as passengers but as drivers and entrepreneurs in their own right. It challenges the traditional gender norms that often restrict women’s mobility and economic opportunities.

As we approach the end of Women’s Month, it’s essential to reflect on the progress made and the journey ahead in achieving gender equality across all spheres of life, including transportation.

Celebrating and supporting initiatives like An-Nisa is crucial. They not only provide safe and reliable transportation options for women and children but also pave the way for economic empowerment and independence for women drivers.

Let’s take this opportunity to acknowledge the women who are breaking barriers and making strides in traditionally male-dominated fields.

Whether it’s the woman who carefully navigated the motorcycle that brought me to work or the female drivers of An-Nisa, their contributions are valuable steps towards a more inclusive and equitable society. As we celebrate Women’s Month, let’s commit to supporting and uplifting the women around us, in every way we can, recognizing the profound impact such gestures can have on individual lives and our community at large.

The ride to work today was more than just a commute; it was a reminder of the strength, resilience, and potential of women when given the opportunity to thrive. It’s a call to action for all of us to support and celebrate the women in our lives, not just during Women’s Month but every day, for the significant roles they play in shaping a more inclusive and equitable world.