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Emma Hamilton-Clark

Female-only rickshaw service is driving change in Pakistan

Emma Hamilton-Clark

What’s hot pink, has three wheels and provides security and empowerment for girls and women? An all-female rickshaw taxi service!

This unique initiative, launched by Plan International, is quickly making headway and breaking barriers for girls and women in Pakistan.

Fueling girls’ empowerment one journey at a time

The women driving the vibrant pink rickshaws are providing girls and women with a safe way to get around the city – a service that is otherwise hard to find in Pakistan. Without fear of being harassed, girls are empowered to travel on their own and travel with confidence.

Women’s restricted ability to travel independently significantly affects their ability to work in Pakistan. According to the International Labour Organization, three quarters of women in Pakistan do not work, and this is partly due to the lack of safe transportation options getting to and from home.

Three women standing beside pink rickshaw

Pink rickshaw drivers pictured from left to right: Bali, Najam and Kiran.

By providing a sense of security, this initiative is working to economically empower girls and women in Pakistan while inspiring them to see themselves in trades that are traditionally dominated by men.

The pink rickshaw drivers and its passengers are gaining independence and claiming a new position on the road. In a country where less than 5% of women have their driver’s license there’s no doubt these pink ladies are shattering gender stereotypes!

Meet two pink ladies taking the wheel for change:

Kiran, 22

Kiran was not able to finish her education and was forced to drop out of school to work when her father could not make ends meet. Like many girls from rural Pakistan, she worked as an agricultural labourer, earning very little for long hours of strenuous work.

Smiling woman driving pink rickshaw

Discouraged by her own situation, Kiran decided to challenge the way her society perceives women and create a brighter future for herself. After meeting with like-minded women, she was encouraged her to register with the pink rickshaw initiative.

Although not all her family has accepted her new venture, Kiran recognizes that change takes time and she is proud to be part of the movement!

“Someone has to take the first step. It was a challenge for the first few months but I’ve worked hard to be accepted and now people respect me and appreciate the change I’ve brought.”

Najam, 27

Najam was determined to make a difference for girls and women in her community. The day she received the keys to her rickshaw was one she will never forget!

“I feel socially and economically empowered, but at the same time, I wonder what people will say. I am determined to drive the rickshaw and to change the community – I feel honoured to be a role model for girls in my community.”

Woman driving a pink rickshaw.

The road to gender equality

With every ride they take, the empowered new female faces behind the wheel are making headlines and are working to change the perceptions and opportunities for women and girls in Pakistan.

It is women like Kiran and Najam who are fueling the change for gender equality in their communities. Not only are they providing a safe way to travel, they are inspiring role models – empowering girls to be independent and pursue their dreams!

Give girls the key to a brighter future!

When you give girls and women the education and opportunity to create their own future, they’ll lift themselves and everyone around them out of poverty.

Sponsor the Because I am a Girl project today!