“Women all over the world face restrictions on their mobility. They are unable to travel long distance to acquire decent education or take up jobs which involve complex or unsafe commute resulting in a restricted pool of job opportunities for them,” says Jai Bharathi, explaining about the purpose of her 40-day motorcycle expedition across 20 cities in the country to raise awareness and encourage women to learn driving skills and enhance their job opportunities.
Starting from Hyderabad on October 11, she has so far covered Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Goa, Pune, Mumbai, Surat, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Jaipur, Amritsar, Srinagar, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Lucknow, Allahabad, Patna, Guwahati, Kolkata, Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar and Vizag.
Speaking to the media here on Thursday, the woman biker and founder of Moving Women Social Initiatives Foundation (MOWO) from Hyderabad spoke in detail about how she embarked on ‘Moving Boundaries’, a campaign to help women remove roadblocks within the ecosystem to increase their job prospect in transportation businesses, including as taxi and e-rickshaw drivers or agents for e-commerce companies.
En route what she calls her exciting journey, she has been meeting women representing all strata and holding workshops, egging them on to aspire and achieve mobility and experience a unique sense of freedom and self-reliance.
MOWO has rolled out a WhatsApp-based chat box for women who want to learn driving a two or three-wheeler vehicles or apply for a job as taxi, auto or delivery rider. “Any interested person can seek information by starting a conversation with a “Hi” on the WhatsApp number +91 8885916606 and the chat box will connect them to a nearby partner organisation like ‘Even Cargo’ which offers training and employment opportunities to women,” she said, informing that the chat support is available in multiple languages.
Speaking about the barriers to women’s mobility, she said it’s more of mental block rather than physical restrictions. “Through our organisation, we are trying to design context-specific solutions to perceived barriers and trying to break the ice through knowledge-sharing and collaborative-working,” she said.