Many female drivers can attest to negative stereotypes they have come across on how they drive. We caught up with one girl about town, Stephanie, to hear her thoughts on what it’s like to be a female driver. As a mum who drives, we also get her take on what it’s like driving around with her two kids.
Q: Hey Stephanie, Can You Share with Us What Driving Means to You?
I’ve always wanted to drive. It was partly having both parents who drive and having two brothers that made me interested in cars at an early age. It was just something I grew up loving.
Q: How Often Do You Drive?
Nearly every day. I drive a lot for work, and I take my kids around in my car. My husband drives too, but with the baby seats in my car, we usually drive my car when we take the kids out.
Q: What’s It Like Driving with Two Kids?
I have 2 sons – one is 2 years old and the other was just born a few months ago. We’ve fully equipped our car with baby seats for both of them. I drop my eldest off at his playschool every morning before heading to work, and it’s been a great bonding time for us commuting for those 20 minutes each way every day. I’ve also found it very convenient to drive – it’s difficult to take them around without a car.
Q: Do You Think There’s a Negative Notion That Females Don’t Drive As Well As Men?
There’s probably not a woman or man among us who hasn’t got a driving mishaps that they’ve shared at some dinner before. But sure, women sometimes do get flak – more flak – for their bad driving encounters. But as the stereotypes are so deeply ingrained, it’s going to be hard to get rid of those negative biases and it will be quite some time for us to take women more seriously when it comes to driving.
Q: How Did You Think The Stereotype That Women Can’t Drive Came About and Has Been Perpetuated?
It could be because of the interest men have in cars from a younger age! Any early interest in how cars work, in remembering different car specs and models all reinforces their confidence when it comes to cars. I’ve always loved cars and the stereotypes haven’t affected me much. My mum and my other female relatives have driven since before I could remember.
It doesn’t help that there are fewer women that drive professionally compared to men. According to Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, only 2.5% of all taxi drivers in Singapore are female. Are these stereotypes here to stay? How can we change them?
We can help and empower women more – parents can be a role model for their kids by being aware of their biases and not acting on them. Stereotypes are here to stay unless we can encourage more women to get behind the wheel.
These stereotypes also aren’t just about driving. When we encourage our daughters and our sons, we empower girls to become more confident and take on more opportunities in the other things they do.
Q: Who are Some of the Female Drivers That You Admire?
One of them is Susie Wolff. It’s a pity she’s retired, we need more women in the F1 races. Another driver whom I love is my mum. She has driven through more heavy downpours and gotten stuck in more traffic jams than I can remember, sending me to my tutors’ and to my classes. Those were some memorable days.
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Q: What Car Brand and Model Do You Drive? When Your COE Expires, What Car Model Do You Intend to Get Next?
I drive a 4-year-old Audi A4. When its COE expires, hopefully by then I’ll be able to drive a Tesla Model X in Singapore! Otherwise it will be a MPV which will make it easier to take my kids to school and to their sports training.
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