|Nadia Ahmad at the wheel of her taxi [Abed al-Qaisi/Al Jazeera]|
It is something we discussed with friends during my stay in the Occupied West Bank town of Beit Jala last month. Everyone was curious to hear about Dubai and its progress. Among other topics, we spoke of the city’s pink taxis driven by women. So it was a very pleasant surprise when I spotted this news item on Al Jazeera, especially considering the very volatile situation in Hebron where Palestinians are subjected to constant harassment by Israeli settlers.
She watched her cousins work on their engines when she was a teenager -- never asking questions, but taking mental notes instead.
"I can work on my own car [now]. I watched and watched, [and] now I know about cars. I can take even apart the carburetor," Ahmad said.
now wants to start her own business, and within the next few years, she hopes to run a small fleet of taxis driven by women, for women.
She also plans to provide car seats for children upon request, an option not available to women taking mainstream taxis.
Ahmad remains confident they will eventually agree to join her fleet.
|ADWAR's Sahar al-Kawasmeh, [Abed al-Qaisi/Al Jazeera]|
Earlier this year, Ahmad submitted her application for a business license, along with her business pitch, to the Palestinian Ministry of Transportation to gauge the viability of her entrepreneurial plans.
A ministry representative from told Al Jazeera that as long as Ahmad was able to meet all the requirements of any new taxi company -- including office space, insurance, licensed cars and drivers, and start-up cash -- she would be allowed to open.
"We do not discriminate upon gender," the representative, who did not provide his name, told Al Jazeera. "Man, woman, whatever -- there are standard procedural steps that have to be taken, that's all."