Mania is a longtime chauffeur and multi-tasking master. She shares her experiences with us as a woman working in the ground transportation industry.
This March 8, we’re celebrating International Women’s Day with a series of interviews highlighting some of our exceptional female colleagues who help make Blacklane better.
Mania is currently studying medicine as well as doing the accounting and performing rides for her husband Ali’s chauffeur company. She has worked in the ground transportation business for the past fifteen years and has seen positive changes, though some biases still linger.
How do you feel about gender diversity in the industry of driving and chauffeuring? Do you see a lot of other female chauffeurs out there?
“Yes, there are a lot of female [chauffeurs] from a lot of countries. Middle East, Europe, and Mexico. Mexico City has more than other countries, but [still] a few females. I think that more chauffeurs are men, but maybe it’s about the difficulty of chauffeuring and working.”
What challenges have you overcome as a woman in your chosen profession?
“The biggest problems are lifting or carrying luggage, driving long distances, and sometimes inappropriate behavior from some customers. These three are the most important.”
Does inappropriate behavior from guests happen often?
“Not often. ‘Sometimes’ is a better word because I’ve heard of these problems a lot. More than 10, more than 100 times from women [chauffeurs]. Some customers don’t like women or don’t believe that women can drive long distances especially, or that women cannot drive very well.”
What do you do in those situations?
“Actually, it’s a hard situation [to deal with] at the time. For women, it’s very hard to say anything in that moment and when you hear this, it’s like things are not equal between men and women. It’s so hard, it’s so tough.”
What do you think women can do to support each other in the workplace?
“I think communicating is the first important thing and in LA, supporting women in this career is about teamwork. It’s very complicated because the women are from other countries with different cultures, beliefs, and thoughts, but I think communicating is very important, and honesty.”
What is the best thing about being a woman in your current work environment?
“For me, it’s very comfortable, easy to connect with [people], and it’s about safety. When I get a ride and my chauffeur is a female, I feel better. It’s more comfortable than with men, that’s my opinion. I’ve heard a thousand times that most women feel like this and think like this.”
What can the industry do to better support women?
“From my perspective, because of some difficulties in this career like lifting luggage, long distances, behavior of some customers, etc., if companies want to support women, they should pay them more. I think it’s more important to support women in this career because women leave chauffeuring because of this, but with paying more they [would attract more] females.”
What is something you really like about being a chauffeur?
“Luxury transportation is very interesting, very different, because we can meet new people, [learn] some important things because we listen when they talk with each other.”
Are there other women you work with?
“Aside from Blacklane, accounting, doing rides, studying, and as a wife, in my home I’m working with another company, with other women, but just a few hours a week. And we have a lot of women around us, they work with us very often. Now we have three other women in our company, but they only work a few hours.”
How do you feel about Blacklane’s gender diversity?
“I think diversity in Blacklane is good. We can meet a lot of people from different countries. If Blacklane worked with just one country or two countries, I think it [wouldn’t be as] good.”
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