The year was 1886, when Carl Benz applied for a patent for his “vehicle, powered by a gas engine.” The patent – number 37435 – is in many ways regarded as the birth certificate of the automobile.
The year was 1909, as the suffragette movement swept across most of the West, with women seeking the right to vote through organized protest – 22-year-old Alice Ramsey became the first woman to drive across the United States, in part to prove a woman’s competence behind the wheel.
The year was 1947, when teacher, political campaigner, women’s rights activist, traditional aristocrat and mother of the pioneer of Afrobeats, Fela, Dr. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti became the first woman documented to have driven a car on the continent.
The year was 2017, when Bolt launched in Ghana and changed the transportation landscape instantly. While the ratio of female to male drivers has bettered in recent times, the gap between female commercial drivers and their male counterparts remains glaring.
But Bolt is changing the narrative. Through incentive-based systems that help women benefit from the added convenience and security, and stronger representation of women drivers in public facing communication, we are seeing remarkable growth in the number of our female drivers with rave reviews to boot.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2021, which has as its theme #ChooseToChallenge, Bolt joins people all over the world who believe that a “challenged world is an alert world. Individually, everyone is responsible for their thoughts and actions – all day, every day. In communities, people can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. Everyone in society can choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, this can help create an inclusive world.”
We find nothing more befitting than to hear unfiltered stories, from three of our drivers – all women – on their experiences driving with Bolt:
Working with Bolt has been a really positive journey so far because of the many pleasant experiences. I have driven with Bolt for more than a year. I used to drive other ride-hailing services alongside Bolt but I found that I earn more with Bolt, so I decided to concentrate there.
My journey began when I encountered a woman Bolt driver in Kumasi after I requested for a ride. I was so encouraged by the encounter that I decided to sign up and join in. I chose Bolt because with the high level of patronage and users on the app, I get a lot of customers and the fares are very good.
Esther Adamah, Bolt driver
Being a woman driver has been a splendid experience. I get excited seeing the pleasant reaction many riders have when they realize they are getting a woman driver. They get so excited and this really motivates me to be the best at my job; seeing to it that they arrive at their destinations safely and in comfort. Also, as much as I can, I keep them company with conversations. Passengers are often curious about how I became a driver and other related questions and many share encouraging words to remind me to “keep it up.”
The perks include the flexibility of the work– I get to rest when I feel tired and tips from passengers.
In the next five years, I am aspiring to buy another car for any of my female friends to drive. As a woman driver I would like to encourage every woman who owns a car or cars to try this on the weekend to earn extra or join in on a full-time basis by signing up on the Bolt app. It is imperative that we do something on our own rather than looking to others. I love driving with Bolt!
Life is full of ups and downs, but I am a very optimistic person, and working with Bolt has empowered me as a woman in tremendous ways. Many of my customers are excited to see a woman driver. Some passengers ask for selfies, others engage in lengthy conversations, trying to find out the motivation behind my opting to drive.
Victoria Addison, Bolt driver
I have been driving with Bolt since 2018 (then Taxify) and being a woman driver is not without its challenges, especially as some people hold on to very toxic stereotypes. A potential rider once asked me, “Are you the driver? A woman? No! No! No! How can I trust your ability to drive?” Another challenge was that I experienced an unfortunate situation where 2 unsavoury characters robbed me.
However, driving is my hobby, and after my first encounter with Bolt, I made enquiries about how I could join and become a driver.
To me, Bolt is simply the best! Perhaps, I’m a little biased since I was judged to be the “Woman Driver of the Year” in 2018. Bolt is known to recognise and support its drivers. Bonuses, discounts, and motivation are three of the things Bolt is most known for.
In five years, I aspire to have a fleet of cars with many drivers. If you’d like to be your own boss and meet a wide range of people while working on your own time and pace, driving with Bolt is a good idea.
Rita Owusu Obeng
I have been driving with Bolt for the past three years. One of the reasons I signed up to drive with Bolt was that my passengers complained of the high cost of the other options on the market. The most pleasant experience for me is when riders ask a lot of questions in amazement that Bolt has women drivers.
Rita Owusu Obeng, Bolt driver
Bolt also offers loads of discounts and bonuses on rides, amongst other perks. I became a Bolt driver because I love to drive, and since I have a car, I decided to go for it. I haven’t regretted my decision.
In the next five years, I am aiming to own several cars to help give more women the opportunity to drive and achieve financial independence so they can take care of both personal and family needs. I encourage as many women as can drive and have access to a car to sign up to drive with the Bolt platform. Take it from me – driving with Bolt has transformed my life.