• Saturday, April 13, 2024
businessday logo


Meet two female Bolt drivers breaking barriers and building success

Meet two female Bolt drivers breaking barriers and building success

There may have been an argument for why society defined certain jobs as woman-appropriate decades ago, but now there isn’t a job out there that a man can do better than a woman. There is a popular saying in Nigeria, ‘what a man can do, a woman can do better.’

Despite the many reservations regarding working women in Nigeria, especially as drivers who interact with many strangers daily, the progress for women in Nigeria is on a positive trajectory. This International Women’s Month, we along with Bolt have decided to celebrate the women (and heroines) who work behind the wheel to bring home the bacon for their families.

When Bolt started its operations in Nigeria eight years ago, there was an audible sigh of relief, especially from women, who no longer had to deal with unpleasant cab drivers who made them feel unsafe.

To make things better, Bolt’s inclusive operations made it possible for more women to break through the glass ceiling preventing them from doing jobs that are typically performed by men, driving being one of those jobs.

We chatted with two women who are partner drivers with Bolt, and how the job has affected their lives and more specifically their experience as women. Though they are faced with some adversity, these women wake up each morning and prove their strength and will and it is quite inspiring. As a token of their appreciation towards these strong women, Bolt gave them each a special Women’s Day gift.

Yewande Ajala

Yewande Ajala, a mother of two hopped on the Bolt train three years after it was launched in Nigeria. Before that, Ajala was a food supplier, a business that was thriving for her until Nigeria slipped into recession and the business took a downturn.

To make lemonade out of life’s lemons, Ajala started a ‘kabu-kabu’ business (local taxi driver), but the results weren’t as she expected. Dealing with agberos, task force agents, and the struggle to scream every day to attract passengers proved too stressful. Plus, she needed to be able to take days off for her health and the well-being of her kids.

One thing we noticed from speaking with Ajala is that she will never stop striving to make a good life for herself and her kids. She asked around about ride-hailing and found it exciting as it gave her flexibility while still bringing a reliable income. She explains that it gave her the required time and financial support and independence to care for herself, her kids and in her words; “to be my own boss”

“Driving with Bolt has allowed me to invest professionally in other careers and businesses successfully without issue. Let me just say driving with Bolt is an answered prayer from above: I can handle all my financial needs without a hiccup.”

Omolola Adeleke

Omolola Adeleke, a banker-turned-Bolt partner, left her bank job in 2017 and ventured into some businesses that did not pan out well. One day, while on a Bolt ride as a passenger, she asked the driver if there were female drivers on Bolt and he responded affirmatively. As she already had a car she thought, Why not?

“Driving with Bolt has helped me meet my financial obligations as a mother taking care of three kids. Nothing comes easy and the way I see it, people who are opposed to a woman working as a driver, or a woman working at all, are backward and their opinions should not be validated!,” she said.

“I have had passengers who have given me gifts and applauded me for being a working woman. I’ve met people through the Bolt female driver community who became friends and even family, and the same goes for some amazing passengers who are now my very close friends,” she added.