Are you thinking about to travel to Abu Dhabi? On my most recent trip to Abu Dhabi, I was staying for a few weeks and didn’t need a car full time. I decided to do like so many people do – tourists and residents alike – and use cabs as my major form of transportation (when I wasn’t car-sharing with friends).
Many people travel to Abu Dhabi for short and long term stays for leisure, business or for medical treatments in their world-renowned hospitals. Often car rental is not necessary or wanted, and cabs are commonly used for visiting attractions or for a night out. Cab fare is extremely reasonable, so it is a great alternative to navigating the busy roads on your own and paying for parking.
Cabs are found everywhere from hotels to shopping centers and food malls to tourist attractions – and everything in between. Shops and salons will call a cab for you, so it is a main way to get around the city and region.
Travel to Abu Dhabi and Empower Women to Make a Difference
I traveled by cab frequently and met many nice drivers- and those who were not so talkative. All were men, until today. Although I had only seen a few, today I got a female cab driver when leaving a hotel and shopping complex.
Around 2010, cab companies began employing women and adding “ladies only” and “family cabs” to their fleets. These female cab drivers can transport women, couples and families; their only restriction is the transportation of only men. Understand this is the Middle East and there are religious and social norms.
Empowering Women as an Enlightened Traveler in Abu Dhabi – Meet B.T., a Woman Cab Driver in a Muslim Country
My driver B.T. was an Ethiopian who now has lived in Abu Dhabi for over 10 years. She began work in the city of Al Ain as a family’s housekeeper and after four years requested to get her driving certification.
B.T. then became the family’s driver. Eventually, she moved on and gained employment in that city as a woman cab driver before moving to the capital city Abu Dhabi.
I asked her about the difference between her job working for a family and working for a cab company. Her face lit up with a beautiful smile as she said she liked her first jobs, but being a cab driver gave her freedom.
Freedom! I love that word.
I could see for her it meant self-empowerment and self-determination, because she had control over her wages and bonuses.
Women Entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi – Having Direct Control Over Their Finances
A women cab driver in Abu Dhabi, she explained, receives a base salary, and then incentives in bonuses for a daily and monthly quota. She felt she had direct control over her income-earning. It was good to hear that the cab company paid for gas consumed and other expenses.
Unlike some other service professions, cab drivers do not live in the work communities but choose their own accommodations and living arrangements.
When asked about the difficulty of earning the income she desired, B.T. admitted that the restrictions on who her passengers could be was a hindrance that might cause her to have shifts exceeding 12 hours to meet her desired quota on some days. But, she said, by knowing hotels women frequent, and being available at hospitals, shops, malls, mosques and other places women frequent, she could be successful. And, she said, awareness was increasing that couples could travel together as well as families. Business was getting better and better, and she really enjoyed her profession- and that freedom it afforded her.
Empowering Women Through Equitable Employment in Abu Dhabi
B.T. and her story are inspirational in that they light a way to empower women.
Women from all over the world seek better fortunes for themselves and their families back home. Sometimes the results are not pretty or equitable.
It is difficult to support services where these women are kept in difficult working circumstances with little room for advancement or a fair wage.
I was glad to have discovered through my travel an industry in Abu Dhabi that provided fair work for women and a comfortable way for other women to travel about the city and region.
LUXURY AND SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL ADVISOR at ENLIGHTENED JOURNEYS TRAVEL
Theresa Jackson is the Founder of Enlightened Journeys Travel, a luxury experience travel boutique that seeks to achieve the great travel moments for its clients. She continues to travel the world so that she is a #GlobalLocal with first-hand experience and insights to connect you with your journey’s destination in sustainable and responsible ways to benefit you and the places you visit.