By becoming the first female taxi driver in the highly conservative Gaza Strip, Palestinian mother-of-five Nayla Abu Jubbah launched a minor revolt this week.
female taxi driver:
Women have the same legal rights as men to drive a car in the impoverished Palestinian region, but the taxi driver profession has been overwhelmingly male in practise so far.
‘I talked to a friend who works as a hairdresser one day and I said to her,’ What would you think if we launched a women’s taxi service? ” She said it was an insane idea,” said the 39-year-old.
And before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Israeli-blockaded area faced 50 percent unemployment.
The social work graduate in a headscarf puts on a face mask after drinking a steaming cup of tea in her house and marches to her car parked outside.
She starts the engine and is off on the roads of Gaza, where the Islamist Hamas movement has operated for over 13 years, after slotting her smartphone into its holder and giving a toot on the horn for display.
Abu Jubbah, taking only advance bookings, does not cruise the streets for fares.
“I’m leaving my home and I’m going to pick up my customers to take them from the hairdressing salon to a wedding, for instance,” she says.
When her father died, she purchased the car with her inheritance.
“One day, I told myself I wanted to take advantage of the car, to put it to use,” she said. Thus to put them at ease, the project of a taxi service exclusively for women.” She is travelling through the streets of Gaza City today to pick up 27-year-old Aya Saleem for a shopping trip.”
“In a patriarchal culture, we exist. So when I saw that there was a taxi company for women in particular… I felt a form of liberty,’ says Saleem.
She’s wearing a long brown tunic, a light blue mask and a beige headscarf, and she’s holding a trendy purse.