Whether we talk about the rural or the urban area, it is hard to believe that in a lot of areas, women are still believed to be the weaker section of the society. There are not many opportunities for women to grow professionally in various cities of Punjab. Most of the services are believed to be male-centric hence; it gets difficult for a woman to move into it.
Facing financial crisis in the family, a lady in Amritsar was bold enough to take up the job of a battery rickshaw driver, which is believed to be a male-dominant segment. She is the only female battery-rickshaw operator who takes passengers to the Golden Temple in Amritsar. She isn’t doing this for joy, but for the financial crunch, where she needs money to feed her two-year-old child. It was her husband who has taught her to drive the rickshaw and she doesn’t see any difficulty in being a women and doing the same. It has been around four years now, since the time she had got her first passenger.
People coming to the city find it amusing to see a women rickshaw driver in a place where there are all men doing the job the whole day. Sometimes people prefer going with her, as it is a different experience altogether and they find it a thing out-of-the-box. Earlier she was driving her own rickshaw, but it was no more feasible for her and then she moved on to a rented one, where she pays Rs. 400 as a daily rent to the owner.
She says that earlier it was a challenge for her to start with it, but with time passing by, she became stronger and felt independent. She believes that every woman should be independent financially, for a secured future ahead. Working herself was the only rescue for her, as like many more in Punjab, her husband was also addicted to drugs. There are many ladies who are having this problem in their homes, but not everyone stands out for themselves and deal with it, she is one of those very few who decided to get out of the house and be the man of the family and take charge. She is very proud of her job, and doesn’t look at anyone for sympathy, she says that there are many people who get inspired by her and feel that she is doing a great job and so pay her three times the fare for the route. It encourages her further.