Women are bad drivers — Heard that before, haven’t you? Ever wondered why? 
God gave women mostly the same things he gave men. Eyes, nose, arms, legs… Slightly better brains (look at the number of toppers in Grade 10 and Grade 12 for the past 20 years, pass percentage, etc., — compare the result of boys to girls — you will get your answer). The biological variation in body parts should not make any difference, but why should that make women bad drivers?

Many people who know me, know that I work (in normal times) on gender sensitisation across schools and colleges. Our NGO is called Equality For Women Foundation, and in our work, we bring up confidence of shy girls and young women about having the same abilities as boys, encouraging them to focus on their achievements, and getting and keeping a job instead of focusing on skin colour, good looks, fat percentage, and marriage.

In parallel, we encourage boys and young men to appreciate and respect women in public and private spaces, and to share work and chores at home. It will probably take at least a century to bring about a change (to have men respect women as equals) but one has to start somewhere.

Women can do every single thing under the sun just the same as men. So, how is it possible that I admit women are bad drivers?

The realisation was showered on me by a wonderful gentleman at a checkout counter in a grocery store.

There were a few people in the queue. This smiling, cheerful man in his 60s, just ahead of me, noticed what I had in my cart and deduced that I had children at home (cheese slices, biscuits, Maggi, etc). When his turn at the checkout came, he smiled broadly, and asked me to go ahead of him. I was pretty surprised and started thanking him.

He stopped me short and said, “I know you mothers are so rushed for time always. Did you know, mothers cause most of minor car accidents because they are forever dropping off, picking up children, and running from place to place.” (Just keeping their life together — I was about to add).

I was so profoundly grateful to him for his understanding, empathy and consideration and not just for the extraordinary gift of time he bestowed on me for that day. Such a unique gift — the gift of time.

Every single person on this planet has been birthed by a woman after bearing nine painstaking months of unfathomable Divine creation.

Women are 50% of the population. But are women 50% of the world leaders, or CEOs ? Or even 50% of the workforce ?

Most CEOs have a woman in their life — either a mom or a wife or a grandmother — on whose shoulders they stood, with whose emotional and physical nourishment and support they achieved what they did. But do the women in their life get similar recognition, barring a few ?

Motherhood is the single biggest reason for women not being equal to men financially, in terms of social status, and everything else (even though they do better in the early years of life) and end up being called bad drivers.

Anyone who is rushed for time can become a bad driver. You have been there too, right ?

You can do your bit for a mother (or any woman) by passing her an opportunity you have. At work, at home, at a party, wherever and whenever possible. Will you?

And please never say women are bad drivers — because now you know why.

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Anitha Om

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