Women Own Wheels is a women’s driving academy founded by Marjan A U and Muhammed Ihthisham, a young couple in Kerala, India. Recognizing the existing loopholes in driving training methods, they established the academy with the aim of providing women with specialized and separate driving classes. By offering a stress-free and empowering environment, Women Own Wheels strives to enhance the mobility and self-reliance of women in India.
Marjan A U, a teacher by profession who holds a PhD in English language and literature and Muhammed Ihthisham, with an educational background in business and a passion for social entrepreneurship, identified the disparity between men and women when it comes to imparting driving skills. They observed that women often have less exposure to vehicles and lack the confidence to learn alongside men who already have prior experience. In response, they established a driving academy exclusively for women, allowing them to start from the basics without the fear of judgment.
The founders of Women Own Wheels, a social entrepreneurship venture, understand the serious mobility issues faced by women in India. By providing driving skills, they believe they can contribute to the larger goal of women’s empowerment. They recognize driving as an essential skill that should be accessible to all, irrespective of gender. They believe that driving not only promotes self-reliance but also acts as a fast track to empowerment.
Located in the heart of Kozhikode city, Women Own Wheels aims to provide a calm and supportive learning environment for women. Their team of highly qualified and professional trainers ensures that women receive top-notch training. The academy strongly believes that learning should happen in a stress-free and happy atmosphere, taking into consideration the social pressures and hurdles that women face in their personal and public lives. Realizing that thousands of women who hold driving licence are unable to drive on their own because of road anxiety, lack of support from the immediate surroundings and low quality of driving training received, the academy, through its detailed professional training in multiple types of roads and consistent motivation ensures that their students actually start to drive on their own.
The initial year of Women Own Wheels was filled with numerous struggles, including securing financial resources to build the required infrastructure. However, with perseverance and passion, the academy witnessed quick growth and now has a team of ten dedicated individuals. Within just 16 months, over 1000 students have completed courses at Women Own Wheels, testifying to the academy’s success.
Inspired by the interests of many women they have come across, Women Own Wheels plans to organize an all-women camp titled “PAUSE: Every Woman Deserves a Break!” in Wayanad in July 2023. This initiative reflects their commitment to promoting women’s well-being beyond driving education.
Women Own Wheels, founded by Muhammed Ihthisham and Marjan A U, is empowering women through specialized, gender-sensitive driving education. By creating a stress-free learning environment and addressing the unique needs of women, the academy is making a significant impact in enhancing women’s mobility, self-reliance, and empowerment. The tears of joy and pride expressed by their students serve as a testament to the success and significance of Women Own Wheels in empowering women through driving skills.