Baton Transport A/S, Hungary In Association with The Vega Group Announces Initiative to Support and Empower Women Drivers in India and Provide them with employment opportunities in Eastern European Countries

To Partner with NGOS-Azad Foundation, Taxshe and WICCI For Their Training and Career Development

Bengaluru, Tuesday, February 21, 2023: In an effort to empower women drivers in India and support them in finding employment opportunities overseas, the CEO of Baton Transport A/S, Hungary, Mr. Claus Normann Hansen, today announced their CSR initiative in partnership with the Vega Group, India. Vega Management Consultancy (OPC) Pvt. Ltd and Vera Skills Training Pvt. Ltd, part of the Vega Group, India, are formally associated with Baton Transport A/S in Hungary through their consulting partner- BÁNYAI & PARTNERS CONSULTING, Hungary for the identification of Indian truck and trailer drivers for eastern European countries.

As part of their focus on UN SDG 5 on gender equality, Baton Transport A/S Hungary is focussed on increasing gender diversity in the trucking industry and has identified training and recruiting of women drivers as their key focus. In India, they propose to train and develop identified women drivers through NGOS and at the next level provide selected women drivers with jobs in Hungary and neighbouring countries in their fleet operations.

The NGOs and Forums that Baton Transport and Bányai & Partners Consulting are in discussion with for the training, skill and career development of the women drivers include the following:

Azad Foundation with strategic partner Sakha which actively promotes opportunities and markets for women drivers in transport and e-commerce industry. Taxshe: Bangalore-based NGO working to help provide safe mobility solutions for women and kids

Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (WICCI) with Skill & Career Development partner SAATHIYA with a larger goal of increasing the presence of women in the hospitality and tourism industry

Speaking at the Press Conference held to announce their CSR initiative, Mr. Claus Normann Hansen, CEO BATON TRANSPORT A/S shared, “Women represent a far lesser percentage of the total number of truck drivers globally. We need to highlight the importance of increasing diversity in the trucking industry and to focus on training, recruiting and skilling female truck drivers. To this effect, we at Baton Transport have chosen to focus on UN SDG 5 on gender equality and India is an important market for us. Our vision is also to support and empower the women to build better lives for themselves by opening up opportunities.”

Mr. Tibor Bányai, Managing Director, Bányai & Partners Consulting, Hungary, shared, “India has been a big market for us for recruiting drivers to Hungary and other European Countries. Through this new initiative, we look forward to engaging with more women drivers to empower and train them so that they get to explore opportunities overseas and earn a better living.”

Sharing his thoughts, Mr. Poornesh MH, Director, Vega Group, India, shared, “We at Vega Group is pleased to partner with Baton Transport to empower and support women drivers in India and help them get better employment opportunities. This association will also help support the work done by the Directorate of Women & Child Development, Government of Karnataka, toward helping women from economically backward societies to develop and enhance their skills and get employment both within the country and overseas.”

Mr. Poornesh further added, “Currently there is a very small community of women drivers, making their living driving taxis, semi-trailer trucks and buses. We would, on a step-by-step approach, increase the impact on women drivers of Karnataka.”

Speaking at the announcement, Ritu Chawla, National Vice-President, Hospitality and Tourism Council, WICCI, shared, “Thank you for the invite and giving us a platform to present what WICCI – Hospitality & Tourism is doing in India to empower women in the hospitality sector. We already work on a Skill Development Program with our Skill & Career Development partner SAATHIYA a Shibulal – Philanthropic initiative, with a larger goal of increasing the presence of women in the Industry, by giving the under-served and aspiring youth and opportunity to come within a respectable fold of employment in Hotels & QSRS. We believe that this association is in are synergies in the work WICCI would like to invite Skill Development Partners – SAATHIYA for this event and see if there are any synergies in the future, from this association with Vega & Baton.”

Meenu Vadera, Founder, Azad Foundation & Sakha Consulting Wings shared, “When we started Azad Foundation in 2008, there were few women chauffeurs in India. Azad set out to address the structural barriers that prevented women from joining the workforce including mobility restrictions, violence at home and in public places and the burden of unpaid care work. Today, we humbly share that Azad has successfully trained over 3500 resource-poor women as professional chauffeurs through its transformative skill-building Women with Wheels program. More than 2000 of these women are currently employed as professional chauffeurs and riders and are claiming their space in industries like e-commerce delivery and public transport, which have traditionally been closed for women.”

Azad’s strategic partner Sakha actively promotes opportunities and markets for women drivers in transport and e-commerce industry. More than 2000 women drivers have become chief wage earners in their families, provided 1.8m+ safe rides and earned a cumulative income of over $2.4 Million. These women have built assets, repaid debts, invested in the education of the next generation and challenged violence in their homes, communities and on the road. In 2022, the revision in the criteria for the entry of women in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) was a landmark victory for women drivers, a result of Azad & Sakha’s close engagement with the Transport Ministry for gender inclusive public transport. Tens of women are now plying public buses and this number will only go up, breaking a glass ceiling in an occupation that has been dominated by only men.

Sharing her views, Vandana Suri, Founder, Taxshe, shared, “Taxshe is a World Bank Award winning organisation focussing on safe mobility solutions for women and kids. One of our business model is that we run women cabs exclusively for women and kids. We are alternate moms dropping kids to schools and tuitions, cab is just the logistics. On the other hand, we run ‘Taxshe Breakfree’ where we have women teaching women how to drive, their own cars at their own pace. We believe that if we have more women on the roads, safer is our ecosystem.”

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