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Taxi driver in Gelephu: Girl breaks into the male domain
Leki Wangmo, 24, of Pemaling in Gelephu (Geylegphu)
A few years ago Leki Wangmo, 24, of Pemaling in Gelephu made a bold but unusual move: she decided to become a professional driver, hitherto an exclusively man's domain.
Although her extraordinary career decision even shocked her parents she joined the national driving training institute in Phuentsholing. Recently her perseverance paid off. She was one of 17 candidates selected for the drivers' posts announced by the ministry of communications.

Leki Wangmo was one of four girls who passed out from the institute in 2000 along with 54 boys. A tough looking woman, she soon impressed her male colleagues with her highly professional attitude and behaviour. "She was not given any preferential treatment at the tests we conducted," said the administrative assistant of the ministry of communications. "She was very competent." She stood fourth among 28 candidates.

Leki Wangmo had always wanted to do something unique. "I always wanted to be the first to do something," she said. Her first choice in life was to become an army officer. But the dream ended when she failed in class VIII in 1997. Then she decided to become a driver "before it was too late". Her plan, however, was stalled for a while. Her family objected. To please them she had to take up a basic computer course in Phuentsholing . Asked how she will manage physical tasks associated with driving and being on the road at odd hours facing all kinds of hardship, she said she was prepared to accept all provided she was given respect by people she worked with.

"I can easily be an office secretary with my computer background but I just want my job to be different from merely sitting in the office the whole day, typing letters and filing papers," Leki said. "We explained her the difficulties she would face as a driver, but she was determined to have the job," said the administrative officer of he ministry of communications.
However, there are many who feel that Leki would be more suited in the Road Safety and Transport Authority as traffic inspector. "A traffic inspector should be someone who has mechanical background and also knows how to drive besides theoretical knowledge on traffic rules," commented a driver.

But what people do not know is that Leki has made her choice carefully. She wants to work hard wherever she is, and be seen as the "first professional women driver" by her friends back in the institute and by the people in general. Her aim does not end here: she wants to drive a big truck one day.

This article was contributed by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper


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