A recent survey found out that only 37 percent of Indian men trust their wives behind the wheels of their family car. As reported by the Times of India, a survey called Connected Families conducted by Nissan India shows that nearly two-thirds of Indian men find it hard to trust their wives’ driving skills. While 64 percent women have shown confidence in their spouse’s driving, this disparity goes on to show how sexism and common misconceptions affect spousal trust.
The myth that women are “bad” drivers
These casually sexist remarks have found their way into every Indian household via WhatsApp forwards, or social media cartoons. There is a cocky gent at every social gathering who has to crack a joke on women’s driving skills to sound cool and funny. This presumptuous attitude finds its way into sponge-like brains of Indian men, who will soak up any gyan as long as it puts them in a good light. Women are bad drivers, which automatically translates into men are good or better drivers. For every man who shouts out a gendered cuss at female drivers on the street, there is a husband who can’t keep his opinion about his wife’s driving to himself.
He can always to better than her behind the wheels, be it even mundane tasks like switching gears or changing lanes. Wives feel the burn of constant scrutiny from the car’s passenger seat, which only makes matters worse. It’s no fun to drive, when you know that your husband is analysing every twitch in your body. This is why most women simply give up on driving, rather than being barked at by their respective husbands.
Such sexist remarks hurt women’s confidence
This sexist perception looms like a dagger over the heads of female drivers, irrespective of what they are driving.
Men allow each other several mistakes, while our entire gender has to bear the brunt of one mistake on a female driver’s part. A pang of guilt always envelops us every time we get honked at. No matter how rash others are driving, our lack of confidence makes us question every turn we take. After all, when your husband thinks that you are a bad driver, then you do not bother to take a second vote on that issue.
Husbands actually do not realise how much wives value their opinion, especially when it concerns their skills. A vote of confidence from the husband can really go a long way. If only men (especially husbands) can rid their minds of these sexist notions life on the road would be so much easier.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.
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