Even Cargo's Ladies In-Charge Deliver Every Time
A common perception among men and women is - of course not each & everyone, hopefully! - women don’t make for good drivers.
Make way for these women drivers who have been shattering this misconception. They’re the first bunch of women delivery professionals from Even Cargo. Yogesh Kumar, a sprightly 28-year old engineer, founder of India’s first women-only delivery personnel service said, that the startup functions, keeping gender at the core of their operations. The idea is to empower women by instating them into jobs considered to be cut out for a man, such as driving.
Public spaces have long remained a man’s domain. The fact that innumerous cases of eve-teasing, molestation and rapes are reported and come into everybody’s notice. This shows the extent to which public spaces have been turned hostile to women.
Yogesh was among the hordes of protesters, voicing their anger and disgust at the gory and heinous, 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case. It is during one of those protests he realised, the pressing need to create safer public spaces for women.
To understand the workings of a social entrepreneurship, he procured a graduate degree from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai in social entrepreneurship. Earlier, he hatched an idea to create a business of female drivers to compete with taxis and Uber & Ola. Unfortunately that didn’t pan out and he soon changed course.
The rise in logistics companies for easing delivery of packages, due to the sudden spurt in e-commerce industry, seemed promising to him. Yogesh tweaked his business plan and went ahead with the idea of launching, a women-only delivery personnel service. He won a grant of fourteen thousand dollars to pursue this idea.
Even Cargo, encountered hiccups in its initial phase, like any other startup would. Surprisingly, acquiring clients was the easy part, but recruiting female drivers was a hard task. Prejudices curbed elders and parents from letting their household women to get employed in a “man’s job,” a driver, with some also saying that delivery is not a woman’s job. Few were skeptical of letting their daughters drive a scooty, on the ‘perilous’ Delhi roads. All in all, it took a good deal of efforts to convince the family members.
Yogesh is of the opinion, that women have to be encouraged to step out of the house and not restrict their movements to the “safe areas” in order to remain safe. The prevailing situation can only be addressed by questioning the status quo.
Unfortunately he does become part of that prejudice, when he says that they take precautions in ensuring the safety of these women drivers. Some of the precautionary measures taken are:- a) women drivers would refuse to make deliveries after dark. b) If an address or neighbourhood seems unsafe, they won’t accept the order or Yogesh would himself accompany the driver. c) They also have a policy to deliver only women’s products, to limit interaction with men.
This is in turn is like getting into the cycle of “sticking to the safe places.” Although safety is of utmost importance. This goes on to show, how complex the situation of women’s safety is in our country and why it is more than important for us to fix the deteriorating situation.
The startup employs women from underprivileged families, and provides them with basic etiquette training to speak unhesitatingly with clients. They’re taught to use smartphones and google maps and the most vital piece of learning, how to drive.
This social enterprise is striding towards engaging women in the inaccessible field of logistics service provider, traditionally reserved for men.
Hopefully this noble idea, makes it normal for a ‘woman’ to take up a ‘man’s job.’ and reclaim the public spaces for their safety.