AMMAN // Nisrin Akoubeh checks the oil and water before getting into her taxi and pulling into Amman’s heavy traffic for another day of shuttling other women across the Jordanian capital.
The red-haired mother of three works a 10-hour shift in her taxi, a rare occupation for a woman in a conservative Muslim society.
“I want to break the culture of shame and prove to Arabs and the Arab world that women are strong and are able to work in any area that could be monopolised by men,” she said.
“Women have been able to drive regular cars for a long time, so why shouldn’t they drive taxis?”
Ms Akoubeh is one of a group of women who want to turn taxi driving into an acceptable profession for women, challenging Jordan’s social norms.
The 31-year-old widow and former nurse drives one of a fleet of 10 Pink Taxis driven by women for women passengers.
Most of their customers are nurses on late shifts, university students or mothers whose children they shuttle to and from nursery or school.
Wearing a pink shirt and blue tie as she navigates Amman’s congested roads, Ms Akoubeh often also picks up visiting Saudi women whose husbands do not allow them to ride unaccompanied with male drivers.
“I thank God that I have lots of customers,” she said.
Ghena al-Asmar, a 19-year-old student who often uses the service, said she feels safer riding the women-only cars.
“When I finish my studies at university in the evening or when I leave the house at night, I prefer to take these taxis because it’s a woman taking a woman somewhere,” she said. More info
Photo: Jordanian female taxi driver Nisrin Akoubeh checks the oil before getting into her vehicle on December 6, 2016 in Amman. Khalil Mazraawi / Agence France-Presse