Driving the Change: Leki Wangmo’s Bold Step in Breaking Gender Barriers

In a society where traditional gender roles have long been entrenched, Leki Wangmo from Zhemgang has shattered barriers and emerged as one of Bhutan’s few female cab drivers. Her inspiring story is one of resilience, determination, and the unwavering belief in the power of change.

From a young age, Leki had a deep passion for driving. She honed her skills under the guidance of her former husband, who taught her the fundamentals of the trade. As her love for driving grew, so did her resolve to pursue it as a career, despite the challenges and societal expectations.

Leki’s journey as a taxi driver, however, was not a smooth ride. Circumstances forced her into the profession when her marriage broke down, leaving her solely responsible for her children’s well-being. While she had not been actively involved in the profession before, she stepped up, embracing the difficulties of being a single parent and seizing the opportunity for a fresh start.

As a single mother, Leki faced emotional turmoil and sought solace in alcohol, grappling with the pain of her failed marriage. But it was her children’s love and concern that became her guiding light. Witnessing the impact of her addiction, they pleaded with her to turn her life around. Their heartfelt plea struck a chord deep within her, igniting her determination to provide a safe and nurturing environment for them. Leki’s battle against cervical cancer further tested her strength, but she faced it head-on, refusing to let adversity define her.

Leki Wangmo’s triumph goes beyond her personal journey. As one of the few female cab drivers in Bhutan, she stands alongside other women challenging the prevailing stereotypes. The risks they face in their profession, from non-paying passengers to uncomfortable situations and even inappropriate behavior from monks, underscore the need for awareness and support.

In Bhutan, where 1,799 women have registered as taxi drivers, many still fear societal judgment and encounter hurdles within their chosen career path. However, Leki remains steadfast in her accomplishments and optimistic about the changing times. She firmly believes that as society evolves, women must adapt and progress alongside it.

Leki Wangmo’s story is an inspiration not only to women but to society as a whole. Her determination to break down gender barriers, overcome personal hardships, and provide a better future for her children serves as a powerful reminder that change is possible. Bhutan needs more trailblazers like Leki, individuals who challenge traditional standards and pave the way for a more inclusive and progressive society.

As we applaud Leki Wangmo’s achievements, let us also reflect on the societal transformations required to support and empower women in non-traditional roles. By embracing diversity and promoting equal opportunities, we can create a future where every individual has the freedom to pursue their dreams, regardless of gender.

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