The post-apartheid government of the Republic of South Africa implemented new policies to promote equality in the workplace, in terms of both race and gender. As a result, more women are entering the labour market and working as bus drivers; an environment that is highly dominated by men. However, since occupations are historically sex-segregated, the bus driving industry is dominated by men. This set of circumstances therefore challenge women who choose bus driving as a career, for it is regarded as a male profession. This study focuses on one aspect of public transport in South Africa, with a specific focus on female bus drivers. The aim of the research is to explore the experiences of female bus drivers in Tshwane, South Africa in terms of how they deal with the challenges they are faced within the industry. The primary concern of the study is on the impact of their chosen career on their general well-being which is described as workplace relationships, occupational health and family-work balance. It further looks at the driving forces behind these women‘s choice to join the bus industry. Since women were traditionally based in the private sphere (family), the study then looks at how these women have adjusted to the working environment outside of their homes. Moreover, it looks at the relationships these women have with their managers, colleagues and passengers.
A total number of sixteen female bus drivers participated in the study. Findings show that the incorporation of women in the bus driving industry has been a challenging one. It has been challenging especially for women as they are prejudged by the majority of people as being incapable of operating buses and as a result, they are faced with hostility. Some of the factors contributing to hostility towards female bus drivers are cultural beliefs, unemployment, competition and age differences. There are also other factors that influenced a shift over time from a negative perception to a more positive perception of female bus drivers over time such as female drivers‘ abilities and capabilities to drive. Due to the working conditions of bus drivers, female bus drivers reported having psychological, sleeping and muscular-skeletal problems. Additionally, balancing work and family life has proven to be difficult for many female bus drivers.
Dissertation (MSocSci)--University of Pretoria, 2013.