Many programmes such as the Agaseke Project and POWER have been formed to empower women with opportunities and money making skills.
However, very many jobs throughout society are considered a no-go area for women. Many uneducated women are restricted to operating mini restaurants, laundry, saloons or simply being housewives.
The men on the other hand, take on anything, from laying bricks, driving cabs, bouncing in clubs, carrying heavy food sacks and so on.
One money generating sector that is however largely ignored by women is the transport sector. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I said that 100% of the people who offer transportation on motorbikes (motor) are men.
Women wake up in the morning to go to the taxi parks not to transport people in taxis but to sell clothes and shoes. This to me seems like the ancient beliefs where women were made to believe that eating chicken, fish or eggs was a taboo to them and not to men simply because they are delicious.
An investigation I carried out about women in transport didn’t generate as much information as I had hoped for, save for the known fact that, actually, women shun the idea of wheels for money.
However, I was able to get two women who operate as bus conductors, one, Beatrice Uwizeye operates town Kimironko route and the other, only known as Anthonia operates town Remera.
“I have been in this business for about two years,” Anthonia said, “before that, I was working in a restaurant but couldn’t maintain it when my husband died. The bus business enabled me make some money to take care of my two daughters and also to sustain my restaurant.”
On the other hand, Uwizeye, also a mother of two says she joined the bus business because she was convinced it could pay off better than the other business. A matter of fact, she claims to be happy with what she earns, though she wasn’t willing to tell.
Uwizeye said that most women believe that the transportation business is made for only men and that society usually takes long to appreciate and accept women who take on jobs meant for men.
I also heard rumors of a lady who rides a motorbike in Kigali city, but attempts to track her were futile as she seemed very mobile.
Since we are pushing towards gender equality, I believe women should not be left behind. Whereas uneducated men can make a living out of very many small scale businesses such as in transport, women are only subjected to the littlest of sidewalk jobs or simply kept at home as housewives to cook and clean the home while the men are away working.
This is a new decade, which I entirely dedicate to the women who are bold enough to start up transportation businesses.
The transportation sector is one very booming sector which women can take advantage of. A woman can either serve as a conductor or a driver then use the money she gets to start up a business of her own, perhaps run a restaurant or saloon or buy another minibus.