Women Cab Drivers: Trailblazing In the Unlikeliest Places

Posted by Preeti Mangala Shekar.

A Swati  cab driver.
A Swati cab driver. Photo Courtesy: Paola Gianturco from Women Who Light the Dark

Even in the United States, women cab drivers are as rare as cheap organic produce. Not so in Lebanon, Egypt and Iran, where as the Wall Street Journal reports, women cab drivers abound and what’s more – thrive and bring in much-needed revenue to their countries!

This drive to build a niche taxi market isn't unique to the Middle East. Global Fund grantee Swati, got into the cab business nearly seven years ago!  Swati instituted its version of Lebanon's Banet Taxis now dotting Beirut's busy streets in candy-pink. With a small grant in 2002, Swati established its first women-run cab service.  Since then, Swati’s taxi program has expanded to include training for women in Nepal’s tourist industry, self-defense techniques, and even leadership skills.

No longer do Nepalese women have to settle for backseat driver status anymore - their presence is finally being felt in the otherwise male-dominated tourism industry! More importantly, in Lebanon, Iran, Nepal and other countries, women cabbies provide an alternative, reliable and safe travel for women!

Preeti Mangala Shekar is part of the Communications Team at the Global Fund for Women.


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