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Toronto: The Ethiopian Woman Behind The Wheel

Posted by addisethiopia on October 17, 2013

My note: A couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to spot a young lady rolling a twelve-seater minibus cab through one of the congested streets of Addis Abeba, for the very first time . I said, respect!

TorontoCab2On Toronto streets, a taxi cab is never far out of sight. But try spotting a woman in the driver’s seat. ‘Torontoist’ spoke to two women who make their living behind the wheel.

In this city of taxicabs—4,849 are officially registered with the City of Toronto—only a handful of its cab drivers are women. No official statistics were available, but the number of women drivers is well under ten, according to word-of-mouth estimates. There are safety risks inherent in the profession, but more than that, it’s a culture that’s been carved out by male drivers. Some women cite fear of assault; others, alienation. Regardless of the complex and overlapping barriers, women have yet to move into the industry in large numbers. But some have. We spoke with two women cab drivers recently about their experience as the exceptions, and about where they think women fit within the industry.

Driver: Etsehiwot Ejigu

Age: 38

Years driving a taxi: Five

Torontoist: You’ve never had an altercation, or a close call?

Etsehiwot:

“No, nobody. Somebody hit me? No. Because I am smart. And they might try to, but they forget because I talk too much. And when you are a lady, everybody says, “Oh my gosh, you’re a lady!” They’re surprised to see me, you know? Some say, “Oh, you’re a driver? Is this your husband’s car?” No. I do not drive my husband’s car; this is my car. Always they’re surprised, not to attack you, they’re surprised.”

Continue reading…

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