Society

Ola’s first transgender driver partner is charting her own road map to success

Meghna Sahoo of Bhubaneswar is the first transgender driver partner with Ola

Having faced discrimination and rejection at many jobs, Meghna Sahoo is finally firmly in the driving seat and steering her way to a professional career. The 28-year-old recently became the first transgender driver partner to join cab aggregator Ola.

Ms. Sahoo, who has an MBA in HR and Marketing, switched various jobs looking for an opportunity to be treated equally.

“I have struggled to get the same opportunities as my peers do, and be able to earn a respectable livelihood,” says Ms. Sahoo, who had to quit a well-paying job at a pharma major due to discrimination from her colleagues, despite being a qualified professional.

“Driving with Ola gives me independence and flexibility… Plus, I am able to play a role in enabling others to be more accepting and open towards transgenders,” she says. Eight hours at the wheel now earns her around ₹30,000/month.

“It is difficult for transgender people to get a commercial driving license,” Ms. Sahoo says adding that the local RTOs played a major role in her success. “The transport department helped us a lot.”

“Customers have been good to me. Women travellers, in particular, feel safer in my cab,” Ms. Sahoo says, adding, “I have also faced no difficulty with the male customers.”

In India, where the number of women drivers itself is very low, Ms. Sahoo has encouraged more members of the transcommunity to look at driving as a viable career option. Another transgender Rani Kinnar, 38, has now joined Uber as a driver partner.

“Meghna came for enquiry to our office last year… She then got a Swift Dzire and her commercial licenve and started to work with us just last month,” an Ola spokesperson said.

“Everybody in our office knows Meghna,” the spokesperson said, adding that the company is getting an increasing number of queries from people from the transgender community, thanks to Ms. Sahoo’s experience.

Ms. Sahoo, who has also been working as a transgender rights activist, is married with a six-year old son.

In her free time, she also reports for a weekly Odia newspaper.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 12:34:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/olas-first-transgender-driver-partner-is-charting-her-own-road-map-to-success/article23550138.ece

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