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Wheeling ahead, Punjab govt trains women how to ride motorcycles

May 11, 2018

In this photograph taken on October 9, 2015, Pakistani student Tayyaba Tariq (R) instructs a young woman how to ride her motorcycle in Lahore. Now, the Punjab government is training women how to ride a motorcycle. Photo: AFP

The Punjab government is steering the province towards some gender equality. It is training women how to ride motorcycles as part of it programme, ‘Women on Wheels’.

This is the second phase of ‘Women on Wheels’. The programme started in 2017, when the government opened applications for women. They have now shortlisted 250 women. During this month, the women will get their motorcycles in groups of 70 each.

“The Punjab CM has given 70 motorcycles for the women for the first phase,” said Uroosa, a city traffic police official who is training women to ride motorcycles. “We are preparing for a rally. All these girls will get the keys at the ceremony, after which they will take to the streets.” The ceremony is on May 13, followed by the rally, called ‘I am Wow’, on Mall Road.

Women are excited. “I had always wanted to ride a [motor]bike,” said one woman. “I am learning how to ride it now so that I can pick and drop my children from and to school.”

College and university students are also acquiring the training to be able to travel to their institutions.

Besides learning how to ride, women are also being trained about safety precautions such as wearing helmets and other traffic rules. The next distribution phase is expected to take place on May 17.

In Pakistan, women are pushing the boundaries and taking upon challenges posed by a patriarchal setup. A number of women are making a point to travel independently on cheaper modes of transport. In most parts of the country, public transport is substandard. Private cars, on the other hand, are an expensive mode given the amount of fuel required to run the vehicles. Motorcycles are a cheaper option, which are being adopted by women now.


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