I’ve encountered plenty of ‘drivers’ who never give sides, overtake from wrong sides even on highways without a signal, honk or a light. I’ve witnessed plenty of accidents too… Strangely enough, none of them have involved women, at the max, women slow down traffic or scratch some cars here and there….

And yet, I was recently ‘test’ed with this subject: Why Women are Bad Drivers…

Really?

I just wrote a piece for Femina two months back about bias against women in offices, and almost concluded with a positive note that times are changing. But again if a corporate is handing out such topics for tests, how gender neutral have we become?

I fell for it because I wanted to evoke a response and the test was for a reputed enough company. But then I checked that some universities are also doing ‘researches’ on such subjects. Again… Really?

Here goes the not hard-hitting, most bizarre subject I ever had to write in the name of content-writing:

Why women are bad drivers?

Are women really bad drivers? The subject of this essay seems to assume that all women are already bad drivers and one is supposed to simply explain the reasons. There have been statistics supporting and negating this thought but it will be unfair to judge women drivers without digging up a bit of their past.

Women haven’t had it easy. They couldn’t vote, they couldn’t inherit property, they couldn’t work and the list of things they were not ‘allowed to do’ just a century ago is pretty long. It has been since past one century when women have come out of homes, received education that wasn’t simply knitting, cooking or related to doing house hold chores and raising a family. Of course there have been exceptions in form of successful political, scientific or artistic women. But they are of a handful number. Obviously womankind isn’t that familiar with driving as much as men are. Men take up driving as second nature, while still rigid parts of some societies look at a woman driving any vehicle as ‘independent’, and that doesn’t necessarily mean a good thing for everyone.

After the struggle of centuries, contemporary women finally have a life and a say in things. However, there are still countries where women are not allowed to drive, not because they are bad drivers, but simply because they are women. The whole accusation or stigma of women being bad driver smells of gender bias. Sometimes under confident, conventional women also join in to abuse women as bad drivers.

Still if one looks at it logically, there are way more men drivers in the world who have been driving since a few generations now and are still bad drivers. However, they are not remarked upon, or discussed like women drivers. Personally, since past many years, whenever I’ve read of serious, fatal accidents on the roads in newspapers, they’ve been caused by male drivers in 9 out of 10 cases.

If looked beyond gender bias, women are physically and psychologically different. They are emotional and they are supposed to be the care-givers in the families. This whole difference might reflect in their driving abilities in a positive as well as negative way. They are slow drivers, sometimes over careful and sometimes have their mind on other issues while driving.

Womankind has learnt to drive much later than men. Their level of confidence, emotional detachment required for driving, compartmentalization of thoughts, are some areas where women are improving. Yet, the level of skills and confidence in today’s woman driver is way better than what it was a decade back.

When someone says a woman is a bad driver, it is mostly judged on the yard stick of how men drive, and men themselves have not been excellent drivers anyway. Instead of who is a faster or a better driver, it makes sense if men and women focus on driving safely. As far as the question – Why women are bad drivers? – is concerned, such a generalized statement or observation can have negative psychological impact on future women drivers who could have the capacity to be much better and safer drivers.

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