Millennial Women On Sexist Remarks About Women Drivers

Misogynistic men are intimidated by the confidence of women behind wheels. So, they often try to shatter our confidence with their meaningless and insensible comments.

Kalyani Ganesan
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Sexist Remarks About Women Drivers
There's a popular myth in our country that women are bad drivers. However, women are relatively safe drivers, considering that we wear helmets and seat belts while driving. We avoid answering a call or listening to music on ear pods while driving. Then why do random male drivers who would have come in from the wrong side shout, "Ah, women drivers and their reckless driving!" Do we have to get screamed at just because of our gender, even if we are not in the wrong? On what basis are women considered bad drivers?

A recent article in the Times of India starts with the headline, "Men Drive, Women Die: Indian roads have a gender problem." Diving into the article, the data states that the largest share of women who passed away in road accidents were those walking, taking an auto, or riding a bus. In 2021, more than 18% of people who died in accidents were women. 99% of people who were arrested for hit-and-run cases and rash driving were men. Only 1% of the drivers were women.

This data shows that women are more likely to be killed in road accidents than to be the ones causing them. Even with statistics proving that women are proficient behind the wheel, a patriarchal society like ours cannot stop stereotyping women drivers.

Sexist Remarks About Women Drivers

Here's what seven women who are based in different parts of the country and drive frequently had to say about their experience of being woman drivers in a patriarchal society.

Highlighting the casual sexism in many families, Snehal Mutha, a journalist based in Pune, said, "My father is never confident enough to sit beside me while I drive but is more than comfortable when my younger brother is behind the wheel."

"I just ignore it when someone comes in from the wrong direction and shouts at me. Because what's the point of arguing with someone who is just trying to blame me because I'm a woman?" asked Haripriya Vinayagamoorthy, a banker who drives over 16 kilometres every day to work.


Shahana Narendran, an auditor who resides in the US, said, "I’m proficient in driving manual, automatic, and automatic manual transmission cars. I can also switch sides as I drive both in the US and in India. Yet every time I drive in India, I get yelled at for my alleged inefficient driving because I’m a woman." Regardless of how competent women are, society labels us because of our gender, and Shahana's experience proves it.

Lavanya Periyasamy, an IT professional who drives through the busy roads of Bangalore every day, pointed out how internalised patriarchy has influenced women to sabotage their own tribe. "Once when I was driving, a man came in the wrong direction and almost ran me over. His spouse, who was sitting behind him, commented, 'this is why women shouldn’t be allowed to drive," Lavanya said.

Speaking about how it hurts the egos of some men to see women driving, Anne Jacob, who drives frequently, shared an experience of hers, she said, "Once, a rash driver chased me to a petrol bunk in order to yell at me because I glared at him when he suddenly crossed my lane. He just couldn’t stand that a woman was right and he was wrong. He felt so offended that I was gutsy enough to glare at him for shouting at me. These men just feel that women don’t belong on the road!"

"It's so common. Men either cut through my lane or assume that I can’t drive or park. Men have actually stopped to comment, ‘Who gave licence to you?’, and 'Oh no! Here’s another woman driver who can’t drive', and things like that," said Deeptha Sreedhar, a media professional who drives quite often in Chennai.

Nilasha Das, 24, said, "I have faced a lot of sexist comments and harassment while driving. Many times it happens that a male driver is driving below average, but if I honk, flash, or overtake and they know it's a woman doing that, they will go out of their way to create disturbances. Public transport drivers also don't stop saying random profanities when they see a woman driving."

I've been driving for a decade and have never seen a woman racing down a busy street. I wouldn’t deny that I have never seen women struggling to drive, but that’s not bad driving. That’s a learning phase. On the other hand, I see male drivers racing through the roads and doing stunts with their bikes quite often. Misogynistic men simply cannot stand the fact that today's women are self-sufficient. Truth be told, they are intimidated by the confidence of women behind wheels. So, they try to shatter our confidence with their meaningless and insensible comments. With so many people convinced that women are inefficient drivers, it’s just better to ignore them because talking sense into them isn’t worth it.


Suggested Reading: Why Women Driving Is Still A Rare Sight In Indian Advertisements


Casual Sexism Women drivers