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Growing number of women take to the driving seat

  • Published at 06:14 pm December 9th, 2017
Growing number of women take to the driving seat
The number of women driving, in both professional and non-professional capacity, is quickly increasing as employers feel more secure with them. Brac Driving School in Dhaka has taken up initiatives to train women as drivers for free, who then go on to get jobs different NGOs, other organisations and privately-owned vehicles. Many women are stepping into the world of driving both as a necessity and as a hobby, said Traffic Police officials, adding that women tend to drive carefully on the road. Secretary of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) Showkat Ali acknowledged this while talking to UNB, saying that women usually do not drive as rashly as their male counterparts. He also said Bangladesh has to motivate more women to drive as is the case in developed countries.
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The secretary added that the BRTA has issued 2,512,000 professional and non-professional driving licenses so far, out of which 22,571 were given to women and the rest to men. Captain (retd) Kuddus, in-charge of Brac Driving School, said they have been training women drivers since 2012. In this time, they have trained 150 women in professional capacity and 1,000 in non-professional capacity. Their professional course costs Tk 15,783 and takes 3-5 months to complete, while the non-professional course takes Tk 14,753 and 25 hours (33 classes) to complete. Gana Shastho Kendra Director Aklima Begum told UNB that their organization has trained 140 women drivers since 2009, who have since been employed at various organisations. Shelly Akhter, a graduate from Brac Driving School, told UNB that she was recruited by the Water Development Board two years ago. A mother of two, Shelly's husband works in Oman, while she earns Tk 21,000 a month and Tk 3,000 for overtime duty. She drives from 9am to 5pm on working days. Shelly said she does not face any problems when identified as a driver. Some drivers tend to stare or leer at her while she is driving, but that does not bother her. Minu Ahkter, another driver who works for Care International, told UNB that she has been with them for the last three years and has had zero accidents to date. She added that her office superiors are happy with the way she drives on the road. Lucky Akhter, a housewife who lives with her family in Bashundhara residential area, says she took up driving because her husband works abroad and she has to take care of all the family duties.
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From dropping and picking her children from school to grocery shopping, she drives her own car. She admitted that she felt a little uneasy at first, but gradually opened up to driving and now has no problem whatsoever. Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader told UNB that he has not heard of any problems regarding women drivers, deeming them to be safe and alert. He added that if more women take up professional driving in the public transport sector, they will thrive there too, as they tend to be more responsible than men. The current BRTC buses which operate for women are driven by women drivers with the conductors being women as well. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said there are many professional and non-professional women drivers now in the city, who abide by the traffic rules and face no difficulty while driving in public. DMP Traffic Division Deputy Commissioner (North) Probir Kumar echoed similar sentiments, expecting more to take to the road in the near future. Meanwhile, he also said DMP has increased the number of women sergeants and constables.