ISLAMABAD: Rawalpindi city, the pathway of great warriors of ancient times invading India, has now given birth to a woman truck driver who has shattered the patriarchal social order. The trend of female truck drivers has started gaining popularity among women of the old garrison city, as it enables them to earn a handsome livelihood for themselves and gives them a new identity.
Dozens of women have started the profession of truck driving in male dominated profession, which is very daring and courageous.
Shamim Akhtar, the country’s first commercial truck driver said that she was the sole earner for her family and had to face many hardship in her way so she had to be like a man and finally she opted for this profession and drives a heavy transport vehicle (HTV) to support her family. “We make our own destinies,” she says. “If I had sat at home, I would’ve had no future. I worked hard to get this far,” she added.
“If I have to change my life, I must begin with myself. I’m not going to accept defeat, I will fight, and there is no looking back now,” she further expressed.
She said that there was no profession in which women were lagging behind. “You just need courage and confidence to remove barriers and hurdles from your way to prove yourself,” she said. She added that from dish washing to truck driving was a long way for her, at first it was really strange, but after a while people started to encourage her. She said that she first learnt HVT driving from Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) and then started taking heavy loads of goods and bricks to other cities of the country. This is typically a male dominated profession, but instead of discouraging me, many of my male colleagues boosted my morale at every step to make me fearless, she said.
A lot of women asked me to teach them how to drive a truck, she added, but I told them that this profession needs courage and confidence.
There was no looking back now. Shamim had embarked on a new journey of life. She’d become an entrepreneur. She further commented that she was an inspiration for other females in this profession. “You just need to believe in yourself and you can achieve milestones.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2018.