Working women breaking boundaries to earn livelihood -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Working women breaking boundaries to earn livelihood

By Maira Fayyaz

LAHORE: Working women defy all odds to lend a helping hand to their families as inflation hits the budget of the middle class.

Sobia Shaheen, a 30-year-old working woman, told Daily Times that she had been associated with a car-sales job for the last 10 years. She said that initially she had started work as a receptionist to feed her family, but now she had switched her career to sales and marketing.

Nowadays, sales specialists, especially women, have a great role in selling products and Sobia is doing her job responsibly.

“I assist customers in selecting the perfect vehicle for their lifestyle and interests,” said Sobia. She said that it was her job to convince clients to buy vehicles, whether it was a 100cc bike or a 2000cc car.

Sobia said that she had been given the target to sell 40 cars and 5 motorcycles every month. “It is a challenge, but I love meeting challenges.”

Talking about her work experience, Sobia said that in the beginning it had been really hard but now the targets had started looking easier to her.

“What I have learnt, being a female is that every working woman, from engineers to designers have to work wholeheartedly,” she said.

As far as the challenges are concerned, Sobia said that it was really hard to deal with females as compared to males “As far as men’s misbehaviour is concerned sometimes they talk loose but I have to deal with that.”

“Some people come here to buy vehicles or bikes but at the same time some come here to take us on a ride. But, by the grace of God I have handled such things for the last 10 years,” Sobia said with a smile.

30-year-old, Mariam Zahoor, who works in an auto workshop’s repair and sales department, said that she was one of 11 female workers working in the department.

Mariam, an intermediate graduate, belongs to a good family and is associated with this job since the last five years.

“I was keen to know about cars and their spare parts. Now, after getting sufficient knowledge I am in a position to prepare service cards,” Mariam said.

About her future plans she said that she had started a career in this field and wanted to continue it.

About her role, she said, “We try to make driving a pleasurable experience. This reputation demands the ultimate service experience. We live up to this obligation and truly offer outstanding support with all vehicle parts and service needs.”

Another worker at the auto workshop, Nosheed Arshad, 23, said that she had been working there for the last two and a half years and was associated with dealing with customers.

About improving her work, Nosheed said that she believed in following up feedback to improve the work environment and to deliver quality customer service.

The story of Nosheed is not all that great. She said that she had been jobless for some time and despite wanting to do a different job, was forced by circumstances to join the workshop.

“I was jobless and a friend of mine told me about this job, which was not acceptable for me in the beginning. But after chatting with a couple of female staff my family gave me a go ahead,” Nosheed said.

All the women at the auto workshop told Daily Times that that they felt uncomfortable going to “professional” garages.

The owner of the workshop, Qadeer Saigol, estimated that 80 percent of his business came from women. He said he wanted to “empower” female drivers, especially those facing roadside emergencies, when finding a reputable mechanic could a challenge.

“Our main goal is to help educate women in the local community about repairs on their cars and get them more prepared for that unexpected breakdown or emergency,” he said.

Talking about the female staff uniform, he said the dress showed good management. “But we allow Friday as colour day, which is keenly observed by the female staff,” Saigol said.

“As far as the reward of good service to our women workers is concerned, we arrange monthly get togethers to mark their success and we involve their family members to acquaint them with our working environment,” he added.
Source: Daily Times
Date:11/15/2010