When we told Zahra that our other driver, upon hearing that we were dismissing him and going with her, said: “You can’t go with her. Women drivers are not safe.” She responded, “We have a saying: ‘the answer to idiots is silence.’ By continuing to do what we do, we silence them. Men say these things about women but they trust their children to us!”
Zahra, who has been driving since she was 14, started her cab company with five women a year and a half ago and now has thirty women drivers. Their service has been a boon to women and children, particularly girl students, since women and girls are hesitant to ride alone in a cab with a male driver. Zahra’s women will drive men, too, as long as they know them.
Starting the company required a huge amount of paperwork, she says, including her husband’s written permission. She also encountered resistance from “authorities,” but ultimately succeeded in part because she was backed by the local drivers guild, which apparently recognized the need for her services. Although women drive throughout Iran, Zahra’s is the only woman-owned cab company.
She likes to work: previously she was a hairdresser and a seamstress.
She races back and forth between her home and the office, caring for her three kids, running her company and driving. It’s a 24-hour service and she handles any calls that come in the middle of the night. Some day, though, she hopes to change that…
From the Interview
“The service we offer to the people and the peace of mind we give to the familes — that gives me peace.”
“I take my kids to school and put the food out in the morning, meaning that I don’t leave my household chores undone so there could be any complaints.”
“Here [in this company], jobs have been created for other women and that satisfies me.”
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