Breaking the barriers of misconceptions in choice of livelihood option

Breaking the barriers of misconceptions in choice of livelihood option
Highlights

A female driving an auto rickshaw, is a rare sight in the city, since not many among women would prefer taking up this option for their livelihood or a source of income. The reluctance on the part of women is more due to apprehensions about social restrictions and norms.  But, 35-old Hyderabadi women, Meena, had no such irrational qualms while deciding to become an auto-driver.  

Hyderabad: A female driving an auto rickshaw, is a rare sight in the city, since not many among women would prefer taking up this option for their livelihood or a source of income. The reluctance on the part of women is more due to apprehensions about social restrictions and norms. But, 35-old Hyderabadi women, Meena, had no such irrational qualms while deciding to become an auto-driver.

The decision was driven by not just economic compulsions, but also a desire to become self-employed and independent. Meena, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar, Dammaiguda, has been shouldering the responsibility of her kids since her husband had met with an accident three years back and lost his ability to take care of the entire expenses of the family. She has been driving a rented auto since then, from Jubilee Bus Stop (JBS), after working as a security guard for a few years.

Due to the irregular timings of her previous job, she took the decision to run an auto independently. “I took this decision of being independent three years back. I worked as a security guard for few years and the working hours were not comfortable. I have two daughters, so this job helps me be there for them by the time they come home from school” she said while explaining why she chose to be an auto driver.

Narrating her experience as an auto driver, Meena says that her family has been very supportive of her decision unlike the families of other women. “Many women have asked me to teach them driving. They seem enthusiastic about it but their families are not as supportive as mine” she said.

While describing her job experience, Meena says that she has never faced any sort of gender biased issues from the passengers or her co-workers which adds to her comfort. Despite this, the Rs 10,000 which she earns per month as an auto driver does not seem to be enough as half of it goes towards fuel expenses.

In this regard she sought a certain support from the government to purchase an auto for herself as well as for those women who choose to be independent like her.

By Sravanthi Sanam

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