Sisterhood of cabbies for women in IT

IT firms to recruit women to drive their female staff; Cisco first off the blocks

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Information technology (IT) companies will soon have women drivers to ferry women employees to and from workplaces. Efforts are being made to train women in driving and find placements for them with IT companies for safe and secure transportation of IT women employees.

According to reliable sources, Cisco has recently approved an in-house proposal to employ women as cab drivers recently and it is in touch with Janodaya, a non-government organisation working for women empowerment.

”We have been receiving letters from software companies making inquiries on whether we could train and supply women drivers to them. We have received an e-mail from Cisco Systems on February 11 and June 14 in this regard, and we are seriously contemplating taking this proposal forward,’’ said Santosh Vas, chairperson, Janodaya Trust.

As per the preliminary discussions, each woman driver is expected to get a salary of Rs10,000 per month and the working hours would be between 11 am and 7 pm.

The aim of this initiative is to kill two birds with one stone. According to a communication from Cisco Systems, the initiative to have women-driven cabs will not only ensure employment for women from modest financial backgrounds (as drivers) but would also ensure safety of women IT employees who are till now being picked up and dropped by male drivers, which requires an additional security person accompanying them to ensure their safety.

”We are in touch with various NGOs working for women empowerment. We have advised them to send a list of names of women who intend to undergo training in driving,’’ said Vas.

Janodaya itself had trained around 100 women in driving a few years ago, and some of them have been working, while one of them even opened a driving school in the city.

”I am one of the beneficiaries of training in driving organised by Janodaya. Now, I am working as a driver for Bhageerathi Travels. I have been assigned to pick up and drop employees of Tesco and Oracle. I get Rs 10,000 per month and it has come as tremendous help to look after my daughter and lead my life with dignity,’’ said YR Manjula.
A preliminary screening will be done by the respective NGOs prior to sending the list of names of those screened to Janodaya.

”The second interview will be done by us. Attendance of their family members, especially men, is a must to avoid any complication in future. The idea is to ensure that no dropouts happen among the women trainee drivers during the training,’’ said Santosh Vas, adding that many affluent families want women drivers to pick up and drop their daughters from schools and colleges.

They are much concerned about the safety of their daughters after the Delhi rape incident. They are ready to spend extra money to have women as cab drivers,’’ she said.

During the training, the women would be trained in communication and self-defence skills. ”We will train them in self-defence and teach them in how to tackle situations involving attacks by miscreants. Some valid tips will also be given how to kick targeting sensitive parts of the attacker’s body to maim him,’’ she said.

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