Women in the Non-Traditional Occupation: Work Experience of Professional Female Bus Drivers, Case Study on “Anbessa” City Bus Transportation Enterprise in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


Women in male-dominated occupations face unique challenges and employ unique coping strategies, which affect their motivation and retention in these occupations. The objective of this research was to explore the experiences of women working in the male-dominated transportation industry in order to describe opportunities, clarify challenges, and identify coping strategies that allow them to advance in their careers. An exploratory qualitative study has been used predominantly to gain an in-depth understanding of the work experiences of female bus drivers working in the traditionally male-dominated transportation industry. A purposive sample of ten female bus drivers, five male bus drivers and nine key informants was used, and in-depth unstructured interviews were conducted to gather data on the work experiences of female bus drivers‟ work in ACBSE. Finally, beside the above major techniques, questionnaires have been distributed to female and male ACBSE employers to supplement the qualitative data with quantitative results. The central theme relevant to female bus drivers, according to the main findings, is the challenges inherent in their “work settings”. Challenges of gender stereotypes and social perception; organizational working culture and norms challenges; safety and security challenges; occupational-related health challenges; the challenges of work-life balance; and a lack of support were identified as the main challenges. To survive and succeed in the transportation industry female bus drivers employed various coping strategies including use of femininity at work, adopting male-types of characteristics and mentorship. The findings could help organizations develop and implement policies, strategies, and initiatives aimed at attracting, integrating, retaining, supporting, and motivating women who work or want to work in traditionally male-dominated occupations. Finally, the study points out some recommendations.



Feminist theory, gendered organizational theory, organizational culture, stereotype, nontraditional occupation, occupational health, work-life balance