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11-04-2007, 01:45 PM
Slipping behind the taxi wheel in the Muslim country, hijab-clad Senegalese women are driving gender equality forward.

DAKAR — Slipping behind the taxi wheel in the Muslim country, hijab-clad Senegalese women are driving gender equality forward and changing social attitudes in the former French colony.

"It's a women's revolution," Sanou Top, a 25-year-old female taxi driver, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Sporting a pair of red pants and yellow top, she is one of a dozen hijab-donning women taking the wheel under a government initiative to promote gender equality.

Driving through Dakar's streets in their shiny new Chinese-made cars, the women cabbies are vowing to give a much-needed facelift to the taxi sector known for its old, battered and smoky cars.

Under a special deal, women taxi drivers get to park at the entrances to some of the city's plushest hotels.

Launched last month, the Taxi Sister initiative is sponsored by leading car retailer Espace-Auto.

It aims to eventually put 2,000 of the new air-conditioned taxis on the streets to improve the professionalism in the urban transport sector.

* New

When driving across Dakar's streets, the female drivers are chased with looks of surprise and amazement.

"It's like this every day, people turn, point at us saying look 'it's a woman driving a taxi'," said Top.

"This kind of empowerment is not typical in Muslim countries," said a male passenger riding in one of the woman-driven taxis.

"Let's wait and see how it will be received and how long it will last."

Muslims make up 94 percent of Senegal's 11.7 population.

Ma Djiguene Samba, a woman cabbie, said they face harassment from male colleagues on the road.

But male taxi drivers complain that women are having an unfair advantage over them.

"Since the women have asked for parity, we must operate on equal terms, but now it's all for women," Samba Sarr said, noting that only women cabbies are allowed to park at the entrances to plush hotels.

"They are going to destroy us," complains veteran taxi driver Cheikh Mbaye.

* New Chapter

The Taxi Sister initiative is the latest in government efforts to promote gender equality in the Muslim country.

Senegal's first lady Viviane Wade stressed that the project "open(s) up a new chapter and is in perfect tandem with the government's development policies."

The government has recently taken a series of measures to incorporate women in the country's different sectors.

Last week, the army began enlisting women foot soldiers for the first time in history in a drive aimed at recruiting 300 women by the end of the year for a 2,400-strong new contingent.

Fifty women also made history early this year by joining the paramilitary police force.

The numbers of female senators doubled to a record 40 percent after President Abdoulaye Wade last month named women to more than half of the 65 appointed seats of the upper house of parliament.

There are five women ministers in the 39-member cab.

Mame Madior Boye, prime minister between 2001 and 2002, has so far been the highest ranking female leader in the government, which now has five women ministers out of 39.

Nheless, some believe women still have a long way to go to reach the heart of power in the former French colony.

"Women don't have power in this country, power still belongs to the men because ... all these women who are promoted or trying to be promoted, owe it to men," said Penda Mbow, a leading historian, gender and democracy lobbyist.

"Even if they have responsibility, they are not in places where decisions are taken.

"We have not yet reached the levels where we could have our kind of a (Liberian President) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf," said Mbow, a former culture minister.

She said men in power "have to show that they are doing lots of things to change the position of women, but in fact it is a patriarchal order in this country."

Source: AJP
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sevgi
11-04-2007, 02:06 PM
wow...thats so cool...i love it!!!

:D
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InToTheRain
11-04-2007, 02:19 PM
:sl:

Whoah :ooh: I personally have not seen or heard about female Taxi drivers around these ends in London. Although I they do work in other similiar areas of work it is very rare.

:w:
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wilberhum
11-04-2007, 07:38 PM
Originally Posted by sumeyye
wow...thats so cool...i love it!!!

:D
Ditto :thumbs_up:thumbs_up:thumbs_up:thumbs_up:thumbs_up
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snakelegs
11-04-2007, 08:13 PM
good news!
thanks for posting.
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MuslimWays
11-05-2007, 11:12 AM
Masha'Allah
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