Life

Watch what happens when male cab drivers get asked all the sexist things female cabbies are subjected to on a daily basis

Posted by
Harriet Hall
Published

Ah sexism, that old chestnut. It seems to be everywhere of late, doesn’t it? Creeping out of the woodwork like a dormant maggot rising from hibernation, sexism has come roaring back into our lives louder than ever before, from a pussy-grabbing POTUS to nude celebrity photo hacks and of course the two most powerful women in the country being judged on their physical attractiveness by Britain’s best-selling newspaper.

That’s right, sexism actually is, all around.

With that concerning truth in mind, we set out to expose the sexism in one very London-centric arena: black cabs.

Having noticed the dearth of female cabbies driving our cobbled streets (a whopping 98% of taxi drivers are men), we decided to interview some, to find out what it’s like being a woman in this male dominated sphere.

And, sure enough, sexism abounds. The female drivers told us about some of the sexist questions they’d been asked by their male passengers. From being told to go back to the kitchen, to being asked if they’d done the knowledge, the assumptions were myriad. 

So, naturally, we took it to the streets to test out how male cabbies would react when asked the same questions. 

Here are some of the things male customers assume about female cabbies on a regular basis...

"Is this your husband's cab?"

They must have borrowed the cab from a male relative:

“I once had a customer who said ‘oh, is this your husband’s cab?’” “I said ‘no, but I let him borrow it sometimes.’”  – Paula

“Passengers automatically assume that your husband must be a taxi driver, your dad must have been one or your brother must have been one.” – Shelly

They probably haven’t done the knowledge:

“Sometimes people will say to you, ‘have you done the knowledge, then?’ and I repy, ‘yeah, we all have to do the knowledge.” – Paula

“Quite often I do get asked ‘have you done the knowledge?’ like, as if females are exempt from it, like we don’t go through the trials and tribulations that everyone else does.” – Shelly

They feel unsafe with a woman driver:

“You’ll get like a couple of blokes, it’ll just be banter, and they’ll go ‘Look! Look! We’ve got a woman driver. Oh my god, do you think it’s actually going to be alright?’” – Paula

"Have you guys all done The Knowledge like the guys have?"

They are fair game to be asked out on dates:

“Some passengers think that you’re fair game… and when you say no, their comment is sometimes ‘so you must be a lesbian then – because god, how could you not fancy me.’ Well, quite easily actually.” – Shelly

“One man said, ‘I’m going to tip you, do you want to know why?’ and he said ‘because you’re blonde and female.’” – Shelly

“I’m sorry, but I’m married. But if I wasn’t married I would ask for your phone number.” So he’d thought when I was watching him in the mirror, he thought that I was giving him the eye.” – Paula



They should be in the kitchen:

“I parked behind a member of the public once, and because he didn’t think I’d left him enough room, he told me to get back to the kitchen. I just said why, I can’t cook.” – Paula.

They assume you’re a man:

“You’ll get a customer go “hello mate” and he’ll go “oh sorry” and then apologise.” – Paula

"We've all done The Knowledge"

They have zero sense of direction:

“Customers are more inclined to tell me the way to go, or to be more specific about where they’re going to. With a male driver, they automatically assume they know the way. - Shelly

“They say things like, I’ve been this way on many occasions, and I’ve never gone this way before – and you know they’re lying. You do know that’s the best way to go and that’s where all the other drivers go.” - Shelly



They deserve more tips for being women:

So, naturally, we took it to the streets to test out how male cabbies would react when asked the same questions.

"Is this your mum's taxi or your girlfriend's taxi?"

We weren’t setting out to upset anyone, simply see how things looked when the tables returned. We secretly filmed the male cabbies’ reactions and later told them what we’d been playing at.

Needless to say, they were a little taken aback by some of the questions – some of them called out out on being sexist, and others sat there awkwardly not sure how to react. They later told us what they really thought.

Check out the video below and see what happened…

Directed and produced by: Lu Xiao-Wei 

Presented by: Harriet Hall – Follow Harriet on Twitter and Instagram.

LTDA: http://www.ltda.co.uk

Female Taxi Drivers: http://femaletaxidrivers.co.uk