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Need a Ride? Meet Afghanistan's First Female Taxi Driver (PHOTOS)

CC0 / / Taxi
Taxi - Sputnik International
Afghanistan is slowly moving towards becoming a progressive society after decades of being governed by the Taliban. Women are seen taking up work and getting out of their homes, something which was unimaginable just a few years ago. Sara Bhaei, a woman from Balkh province told Sputnik how she broke stereotypes by becoming a taxi driver.

In many Afghan families that lost their breadwinners to the war, the role of wage earner was taken up by women. In the 90’s, some Afghan women had their own cars, and sometimes one could see women even driving buses.

However, when the Taliban were in power, women were forbidden to leave their homes without being accompanied by a man, so a woman working was out of the question.

But times are changing and once again women are showing interest in working, with opting to drive their cars as taxi drivers.

One such woman is Sara Bahaei, who is possibly the first female taxi driver in Afghanistan. She lives and works in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif in Balkh province in northern Afghanistan. 

Sara is over 40, but she is unmarried. In an interview with Sputnik Afghanistan, the woman said that one of the main reasons why she cannot get married is that she is the only breadwinner in a large family.

© Photo : Personal archive of S.BabaiFirst Afghan female taxi driver Sara Bahaei
First Afghan female taxi driver Sara Bahaei - Sputnik International
First Afghan female taxi driver Sara Bahaei

"I'm 42 years old, and I'm not married. I'm from an intelligentsia family. I have three sons. One of my sons died when he was 18. My sister’s husband was killed by Taliban and he had 6 children. My mother and I live in Mazar-i-Sharif. I provide for five people,” Sara said.

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Sara was taught how to drive by her neighbors, but she could only officially work as a taxi driver after she received a driver’s license. 

The choice of such an unusual profession was not accidental. Sara wanted to prove to everyone that women can also provide for a family.

"I chose the profession of a taxi driver for several reasons. First, I wanted to show everyone that Afghan women can also earn money and provide for their families' needs honestly. Secondly, I wanted to help women who face humiliation from male taxi drivers,” Sara told Sputnik.

© Photo : Personal archive of S.BabaiSara Bahaei from Afghanistan
Sara Bahaei from Afghanistan - Sputnik International
Sara Bahaei from Afghanistan

"During my first working days I received threats. I had to face rudeness, improper behavior and bad language. My car tires were pierced so that I could not work,” Sara said.The woman was breaking stereotypes in Afghan society and according to her, it wasn’t easy.

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Despite all the difficulties and obstacles, she continued to pursue her chosen line of work and gradually the attitude towards the woman-taxi driver became more welcoming.

"Fortunately, men began to treat me better. Everyone who sees that I am driving to provide for my family in an honest way, praises me,” she added.

According to Sara, women, showing willingness and firmness, can achieve the same success as men. 

"Women are capable of so much. If they show will and courage and they work side by side with men, then society will prosper. I owe my courage to women living in the same city with me, they supported me and approved my path,” Sara said.

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