Tuesday Dec 6, 2022
Tuesday Dec 6, 2022

What it’s like to be a female taxi driver in Nepal

Ishwori Thapa: A female taxi driver and a single mother, has been in the business for almost 10 years.

2022 Feb 07, 8:00,

What do you think when you hear the word taxi driver? A female taxi driver, does that ever cross your mind?

The number of male taxi drivers in the capital greatly outnumbers the number of female taxi drivers. Many of them are seen breaking the stereotypes at present though it started just a couple of women in the beginning.

Thirty-nine years old Ishwori Thapa, who claims herself to be the first female taxi driver in Nepal, has been driving a taxi for 10 years and since then it has become her profession. She is a single mother to her 22 years old daughter, and as well as five other orphans. The five children are brought up in a hostel where she pays for their education and other expenses.

Beside being a mother, she is also the Vice-Chairperson of Valley Taxi Entrepreneurs and Taxi Service Society, an alliance of the valley’s taxi drivers. Thapa has been working with Taximandu for the past 2-3 months. She says, “It is really hard for a single mother to look after her family, especially during this pandemic. I’ve recently tested positive for COVID.” 

Thapa's experience as a taxi driver has been traumatic for her. She has been robbed twice by her passengers. "I was on my way home from Koteshwor around 7 p.m one evening when a woman stopped me and asked me to take her to Swayambhu. I told her I couldn't but she pleaded with me and I asked her to hop in.”

When they were about to reach the destination, the woman asked Thapa to lend her mobile to make a call as she didn’t have balance on her phone. After making a call, she threatened with a knife, and asked Thapa to keep on driving.

“I couldn’t even shout and ask for help at that time. Even though I said I have nothing, they didn’t let me go”, she says. Then she saw 9 other men waiting for them. They robbed her mobile and 20,000 cash. Thapa was really emotional when talking about the second robbery. She didn't want to recall those moments, as it still haunts her.

Even though Thapa has been a taxi driver for about 10 years, she does not own the taxi she drives yet. "I have paid the money to own the taxi I'm currently driving, but I still haven’t got it. Whenever I talk about the taxi with it’s owner, he always cuts me down.”

“I have to look after my daughter and other 5 children. Driving a taxi is the only medium to earn for my living and to look after my children”, she adds.


female taxi driver stereotype Ishwori Thapa single mother Taximandu pandemic Covid positive roobed Threatened Cash mobile daugther Koteshwor
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