Female Motorcycle Drivers Changing the Perception of Women in Rwanda

Rwanda’s moto drivers recently saw its first female drivers, and they are changing the perception of women.

Getting around in the Rwandan capital Kigali is best done by “moto” – or motorcycle – a form of transportation common in countries in East Africa.

Motorbikes serve as taxis, zooming between cars often in breakneck fashion, bringing passengers and their luggage from point A to B.

Although countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have different names for the form of transport, motos are ever-present in each.

But in Rwanda, the profession of moto driver has been dominated by men, not only leading to potentially dangerous moments for women using the motos, but also excluding them from gaining economic power.

Now, one company is slowly trying to change that, employing the first female moto drivers in Rwanda.

“When we started this project, there were no female moto drivers. So I went out to look for women for this project,” Sandrine Nikuze told Al Jazeera.

Nikuze works for SafeMotos, the first moto company in Rwanda to start employing women as drivers.

But finding those women was not easy.

“I talked to the women who sold goods on the side of the street, which is not allowed in Rwanda,” she said.

“When I interviewed them, I told them we could change their lives. I told them they no longer had to fear the police who would chase them because they were selling goods on the side of the streets.

“But when I tried to talk these women they said, ‘no woman can do that’. They thought people were going to laugh at them, and they thought they wouldn’t be able to ride the motorcycle,” Nikuze said.

“They were simply afraid of doing it.”

Source; Al JAzeera News

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