Driving force for female recruitment in taxi drivers

Posted by: Belinda Hargreaves

Tue 7th November 2023

Female drivers in Alfreton and beyond are being urged to ‘Think Pink’ for a possible career move.
A foundation that was set up in memory of a ten-year-old Nottinghamshire girl is championing a campaign to recruit female taxi drivers in a bid to empower women in the workforce.
Rosie May Foundation’s Think Pink campaign has partnered with Western Cars Derby and DG Cars to increase the number of women taxi drivers in the Derby and Nottingham region.
Currently, women make up less than two per cent of taxi drivers in the UK.
Mary Storrie, co-founder of the Rosie May Foundation, said: “This project has been two years in the making. We partnered with Western Cars and DG Cars a year ago. At that time, they had just one female driver among 1,400 drivers.”
The project is now becoming a driving force in female recruitment into the industry.
Some 20 new women taxi drivers have signed up with the Think Pink scheme.
The Rosie May Foundation was set up in January 2004 following the death of Rosie May in December 2003.
A spokesman for the charity further explained: “In response to public support and donations at the time, the foundation was set up with funds going to Sheffield Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.
“Since then, the not-for-profit foundation has grown internationally after the family, seeking solace after their daughter’s death, holidayed in Sri Lanka the Christmas following Rosie May’s death. It was the year a devastating tsunami hit the country.
“However, a palm planted in memory of their daughter survived and inspired a series of fund-raising projects in the country including a female driver project.”

The UK Think Pink project stems from this initiative.
Mary said: “We first began the driver project in Sri Lanka in 2016 following a UN report that found that 90 per cent of women had suffered some form of sexual harassment while using public transport.
“We wanted to champion safer journeys and economically empower women. A fleet of ten women driven tuk tuks now operates in Sri Lanka.”
She continued: “There are many parallels between the UK driver campaign and this project.
“As well as empowering and supporting women, we want to educate them to realise that driving is a career that can provide flexibility, especially if they have domestic responsibilities that restrict their conventional full time working hours.”
Previously DG’s only female driver, Kim Blagen has been driving for the firm for 15 years. She will now support and mentor new drivers as well as continuing to drive herself.
Kim said: “I’m on hand to explain all aspects of the job including how it can work around drivers’ home life and any other commitments they may have.”
One of DG Think Pink Derby drivers, Kat, said: “Being a Think Pink driver gives me a work life balance, something I feel I never had.”
Kat previously worked as a domiciliary carer working nights. However, she said: “This work meant that I was asleep most of the time during the day. It was okay during term time but puts you under pressure when it comes to doing things at weekends and school holidays. I wanted the freedom and flexibility of being able to do what I want.”
Kim continued: “The benefits of working for Think Pink mean I can be my own boss, I don’t have to worry about getting people to cover for me if I’m off sick or flitting around for childcare… I enjoy that flexibility. I can work around children, school holidays, things like that.
“We want to empower women and encourage women to think they can be a taxi driver, there is flexibility there.”
With a reported general shortage of taxi drivers since the pandemic, Mary added that training new taxi drivers was fast becoming a success story that long term, she hoped to roll out nationally.
She said: “We have initially partnered with DG cars, based in my hometown, which has the largest fleet of drivers in the East Midlands, but the aim is to eventually expand the scheme.
“Taxi driving covers all sorts of journeys from school transport to hospital appointments. We help recruits who match the criteria to attain their taxi driving license through the DG Academy and Think Pink scheme.”
Those signing up will be self-employed, but the scheme provides backup to enable this move. Drivers will need a clean driving licence and DBS check, they can use their own car or, if full time, can use one of DG’s Cars.
Interested drivers can get in touch to find out more by calling Think Pink on 07470 512589, through the website http://www.thinkpinkdrivers.uk or through their Facebook page.