When your ‘courier boy’ is a girl
News Clip: The Tribune
04th November, 2017
Shedding many inhibitions, these youngsters are delivering packages at unknown doors and fighting many a fear
They are (wo)manning petrol pumps and parking spaces, driving you around in taxis and delivering your packages. There have been jobs, which have been the forte of men, but, of late, women have been taking these up. Dealing with strangers, entering unknown territories, these women are shedding qualms and going into fields, which have traditionally been considered to be uncomfortable for women.
The delivery women
As you answer the doorbell to receive the courier delivery, chances are you will be greeted by a woman armed with your package and a smile. Chandigarh has recently seen many women delivering parcels and letters. The novelty doesn’t distract them from doing their duty rather well. Blue Dart now employs ‘courier girls’.
Says Soma, one of the employees with Blue Dart: “If you are ready for the challenges, go ahead and take these up. Your strength lies in your own belief system. My job has provided me a platform which has helped me overcome the prejudice associated with women in the logistics industry. The potential for women is enormous. However, the onus of exploring this potential lies within women themselves. I am happy to have made this choice. It has made me much more confident.” Her colleague, Kiran, is happy with the work culture at the company. “I have had my share of uncertainties about my career choice. However, after I underwent induction, I was able to shed my inhibitions about the industry.” Though it is a tough job, she feels, she has become tougher, and that she can do it as well as anyone else. As she puts it, “No job is meant only for a man or a woman. Nothing can stop you if you have passion and a can-do attitude.”
Not just courier companies, women can be seen working in parking lots around the city with an efficiency that is at par with, and at times even better than, their male counterparts. That these women have entered a hitherto unfamiliar territory is enough to make you appreciate their will. As you enter the parking lot of Sector 17 in Chandigarh, these girls are easy to spot. Afsana (19) and Naresho (31) started working here around mid-June. Good salary, convenient working hours and amiable atmosphere are what they like the most about their workplace. According to Naresho, “My family has been quite supportive. As far as work is concerned, we usually do not face any problems”. Afsana pitches in, “We are able to deal with most of the problems on our own but if someone bothers us much, our male colleagues can take care of the situation.”
It is when people with the intention to change things for the better come forward that the country progresses. Petrol pumps have long been ‘manned’ by men. But Punit Bhardwaj of Shiva HP Centre, Zirakpur, wanted to change this status quo. He wanted to make available a platform to women where they had a truly equal and fighting chance with men. At his petrol pump, women can be seen filling up the petrol tanks, handling cash and doing all else that men do. Says Bhardwaj, “My sister is a doctor in the US. When she can manage everything so well on her own in a foreign land, it is only the lack of opportunity that stops women here from excelling in any field. Ever since we have employed women at the fuel station, I have realised that they are perfectly suited for the job. They are polite, honest and very efficient. At present, they work in the day shift, but I would like to extend it to the night shift in the next phase.
Sisters Preeti and Sukhwant Kaur, who belong to Banur, joined the petrol pump six months back. According to them, the job offers them a decent livelihood and a favourable work environment. They joined it on a friend’s recommendation. They say they would heartily recommend it to other women as well. They look forward to having more members in their five-women team.
Ladies on the go
Priyadarshini Taxi Service — a taxi service by women, for women — is a well-known name in Mumbai. The concept, which has found many takers, was started in 2008 by Susieben Shah, an entrepreneur, politician and social activist. A proponent of women empowerment, she gave women, whose family income was less than Rs 10,000, a chance to train for free with the taxi service and drive taxis. Hasina Khalid Shaikh was a homemaker before she joined Priyadarshini Taxi Service (PTS). She says: “I belong to a Muslim family. I was not allowed to go out and work. But today I support my family financially and have also gained my family’s respect. Priyadarshini has changed my life. I feel proud of myself today. The staff, supervisors and managers are all very corporative and supportive. Whatever the challenges, we face and tackle these collectively.”
Besides taking up many hitherto unexplored opportunities, these new vocations are instilling a sense of confidence and independence in the women.