Not many people appreciate what it takes to be a woman in a male-dominated industry. Though we often read about female CEOs and directors making their mark on the world, blue-collar workers are no less inspiring. Meet 40-year-old Lavanya Pothur from Nizamabad, the only female chauffeur in Hyderabad.
The mother of two learned how to drive in 2015. “My father was an employee of the railways. After school, I was married to Ravinder, who hails from a farming background. We have come a long way since then. When we bought a car, my husband encouraged me to learn how to drive, as he was working in Oman then. He insisted that it would be better than hiring a driver,” Lavanya says.
A few years ago, Lavanya and her friend opened a driving school in Malkajgiri, but the business didn’t do too well and had to be shut down after two years. After that, she didn’t think she could put her driving skills to professional use until her husband suggested that she join Ola as a chauffeur and an entrepreneur.
Lavanya joined the cab aggregator just a few months ago and has been doing well for herself. “It has made me an entrepreneur. I drive my own car, and I am able to utilise my skills to support my family,” she says.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Lavanya has had her fair share of challenges to overcome. “I have worked the night shift and I have had a few passengers try to misbehave with me. But they make up a very small number. Most passengers appreciated my work. I know how to deal with overzealous passengers who try to act too smart. I have even threatened to take a person to the police station. The cab service provider has also been very supportive whenever I have made a complaint.”
This job has given Lavanya a substantial source of income, a confidence boost, and a new-found identity. She has freedom and complete control over her schedule, which means she is able to make sure that she spends enough time with her husband and children. “I believe that I am doing my part in creating a better world for our daughters. I want more women to venture into this male-dominated profession. I am able to work in this industry because I have the support of my family. I hope others will see me as an example and come forward to join the industry,” she concludes.