On account of International Women’s day, team Urban Tree has meticulously chosen some great women achievers of our country. As we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women on March 8, this is a series of blogs that feature those strong women of India who have made their way up to become successful by breaking stereotypes!
Prema Ramappa is a 35 year old bus driver hailing from a village near Belgaum. Due to her husband’s death, she had to step out of her household life to provide for her ailing mother and her 11-year-old son.
Prema Ramappa Nadapatti was originally a nurse, but she quit her job in the year 2009. She had no real idea of what fate had in store for her in the days to come. She applied for many job opportunities but none of them panned out. Giving in to the financial pressure, she finally applied to the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). There were six more women along with her who were selected, while the rest of them preferred to work as conductors, which gave Prema the unique title of Bangalore’s first ever female bus driver.
Training and the job:
After a month of training at the transport commissioner’s office (note that the male drivers, are given only a eight day training schedule) she started off on the Route 171, from the Majestic bus station to Koramangala. At present though her duty is now shifted to Route No 2E, from Majestic bus station towards J P Nagar.
The BMTC has more than 3,000 female employees yet only half of whom work as conductors. This corporation with 36,000 employees, that is currently headed by a female IAS officer, has about 669 women that work inside the administrative section and another 795 are part of the mechanical staff. 28,000 work as drivers and conductors.
Commendable work ethic:
Prema has always been appreciated for her commendable work ethic. She holds a ‘no accident’ record and hopes to drive the airport buses someday. Though it is often considered an unsafe environment for women to be working odd shifts at odd hours of the day, Prema says that she has not faced any problem related to abuse or harassment till date. In fact the male bus drivers and passengers are exceptionally courteous to her.
A man driving a bus or heavy locomotive vehicle is a normal thing. But a woman doing the same job is very unusual in our country. But we appreciate Prema for taking a bold step and breaking the stereotype and being an inspiration for all the women out there, who are often considered weak. Prema you are truly the ‘Power Woman of India.”