Article

MyCoasterBlues: The reign of women

by Kay Omar

Women have gradually taken over. You know what they say – what a man can do…

When I was a bit younger it was guys that sold ice-cream, worked as bus conductors and even sold medicine on the bus. These days, I see more and more females “taking their place in the work force.” It could have something to do with the availability of jobs – fewer well-paying jobs especially with the increase in one “responsible” parent homes. Or maybe just some woman who got up one day and said to herself and any other person who cared to listen: “Hey, I’d rather endure the coolness of the ice-cream carton on my head than face the heat of roasting boli.” Whatever it is or was, women are taking on what used to be seen “traditionally” as men(boys)-only street jobs.

The one that really gets my attention is the female bus conductors. When I was much younger, female bus-conductors were nothing strange. They worked on those red buses (can’t remember their names now but they most certainly weren’t called Lagbuses). I guess with transport business getting more “street” thanks to the invasion by agberos, average bus conducting would not be a safe job for a woman. Still, they try. On those huge molues that I “jump” these days, you would see “somebody’s mother” trying to affect the tone of your average bus conductor. The younger-looking ones form excessive “braggada” and try themselves by running after and leaping onto the buses like some professional bus conductor.

Okay na, dat one na molue. Why u no try danfo?!

I used to know this lady who drove a danfo. She owned three danfos and whenever any of her drivers missed a day, she took over the wheel. She was always in a dirty green shirt and trousers and wore a cap on her low-cut head.  The only thing that gave her away was her voice – she had the tiniest voice ever even for a girl.

The violence on the roads – what with fights with police and agbero not to talk of regular altercations with your conductor and nasty passenger – has probably gotten to her because I don’t see her on the road anymore. Maybe she is still there and our paths just don’t cross… The height of the female road worker revolution would be when we have female agberos who jump buses and snatch side mirrors and engine covers off them. That would be the day!

But this is Lagos after all, nothing is impossible.

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