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Company hires only female drivers to help women reclaim ‘public space’ in New Delhi

December 5, 2016

Even Cargo, a Delhi-based delivery service, is hiring only female drivers as part of an effort to help women reclaim their “share of public space.” The 6-month-old startup provides delivery service for e-commerce companies in Delhi, and an opportunity for women to break into a relatively well-paid delivery sector that is typically dominated by men.

Twenty-eight-year-old Yogesh Kumar, the founder of Even Cargo, said that the basis for the company dated back as far as December 2012, when the horrific rape of a young woman on a public bus led to protests demanding that public spaces be made safer for women. Kumar, who was among those protesting at the time, says that “gender is at the core” of his startup. Hiring female drivers, he argues, can “change the mindset of how people see women in public spaces.”

Entrepreneurial women, Kumar said, were eager to hire either women to deliver their products. Finding the drivers, however, proved more problematic. Some parents, he said, insisted that delivery was not a girl’s job, or that the small motorcycles used for making deliveries were too dangerous. Kumar started with ten female drivers — by the end of the first day, four had dropped out.

Those who remain, however, say that the job has given them independence — financially and practically. Pappi, 19, who uses her wages to pay her college fees, says that the best part of the job is the freedom of driving around town. “I feel really proud that I’m getting the same work as boys,” she added. Asked if she found the job too unsafe for a woman, her answer was an immediate, and definitive, “No.”

Read the full story at The New Yorker.


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