Women are successfully making their strides in the industry of transport, as opposed to how things were in the past. They have proven beyond reasonable doubt that they are equally capable of handling tasks that were predominantly associated with men.
For years, women have been subjected to unwarranted exclusion and misled perceptions that they were not strong enough to carry out certain duties, as opposed to men. This kind of false views stemmed from issues such as patriarchy, lack of women empowerment programmes, social injustices as well as governing systems such as apartheid, which sought to belittle women.
Since the dawn of democracy in South Africa, women have come out to explore new horizons that they were prevented from participating in back in the days. Women have found themselves taking part in business ventures, the transport sector in particular.
The country’s transport department is in the safe hands of a woman, Dipuo Peters, who is making great strides at the moment.
One woman who rose against all odds to make her mark in the transport environment is Sarah Chomane. This inspirational woman says she started off as an Access Controller at Metrorail in 2004. She says this was a male-dominated field but she managed to stand tall and be counted among the best performers although the job was perceived to be dangerous for women.
Sarah was then promoted to be Ticket Official after just six months in the job. She later became Ticket Sales Agent. Later, she was appointed as Customer Care Agent in 2006, addressing customer complaints. This was before she was appointed at the supervisory level.
Her great story was of course marred by challenges such as being undermined by commuters because of her being a woman more especially when she had to resolve challenges. Sarah maintains that she had to stand her ground and demonstrate that women were equally capable to be in charge even at supervisory level. What keeps her going is her willingness to remain resolute, study, analyse and assess the work environment and the mindset of different stakeholders before making a decision.
Sarah believes in the incredible power of education and also that all people can be what they want to be as long as they put their minds to it. She also acknowledges the importance of consulting for knowledge to help one make a sensible decision. Women of her calibre are indeed moving South Africa forward. The country needs more women like Sarah to help maintain its consistency when it comes to gender equality and women empowerment.