Driving schools in Pakistan charge a variant of fees. In Islamabad, if you are a female that wants to learn from a female driving instructor you’re going to be paying around 10,000 – 15,000 Rupees for a ten-day course.
This comes as an extremely high charge considering the national minimum wage is 18,000 Rupees. Expecting women to be paying almost a months salary to learn how to drive is very steep.
There is no check and balance on driving schools at the moment and how much they charge, the charges are higher for women and even higher when you want to learn from a female teacher.
This leads to many women being on the roads without licenses because they find themselves unable to learn how to drive from a proper teacher. Considering that many women or their families are hesitant to learn from a male instructor it’s just another form of a hindrance for them to learn a skill properly that would make them independent and possibly enable them to earn for themselves.
Driving schools are well aware of this predicament. Just like any other business, they figured out a way to profit on this and decided to charge women much higher for providing a “special service”.
Households with an average income of 15,000 – 30,000 can’t afford to hire a separate driver for their daily chores if the father isn’t around and it’s an unnecessary expense that can be better used elsewhere.
It is very important for women to know how to drive and to drive legally. It enables the mother and the father of the household to equally distribute the responsibilities whether it’s something as simple as getting groceries or picking up your children or being able to drive someone to the hospital in an emergency.
The Islamabad Traffic Police does offer driving classes, they also charge less compared to most of the private schools but they have very limited intake. Women of Islamabad are urging for there to be more schools to be set up or for there to be a system where the authorities to control the price hikes in private schools so more women can access them.