On the occasion of International Women’s Day (8th March), many are celebrating women’s achievements around the world, and Malaysia is no different.
Over the past decade, women have been shattering stereotypes and redefining what it means to be a woman in this modern age. We recently spoke to Marina Sofiah where she talked about the challenges on being a local female rider, what she loves about her job, and female empowerment.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about being female riders?
To begin with I think many people think there aren’t that many female riders when in reality, I think there are over 1,000 of us.
On top of that, I think people assume that we female riders aren’t as hardworking as the men – that maybe we work less hours to take care of our family or that we don’t work late nights. But the reality is, based on all the female riders I know, we are just as if not even more hard working than the boys.
What are some of the major challenges you’ve faced as a female rider?
I think in general as a rider there are quite a few challenges that you would face. Whether its delivering orders, keeping safe on the road or just dealing with the wide variety of people that we meet as riders (not all of whom are always pleasant).
As a female rider, some of these challenges are amplified. There are those who think that women aren’t capable of doing this job – whether it is the long hours we work, late nights or simply getting around town quick to complete orders. They look down on us and pre-judge us just because of our gender.
What does female empowerment mean to you?
For me, female empowerment is being able to be completely independent. Earning your own living, being able to fully support yourself without having to rely on others. This is why I chose to be a foodpanda rider.
Yes, I have a husband and true, he may be able to provide for me and the family, but for me that should not be the way. I am capable of earning, so why shouldn’t I? It isn’t just beneficial for the family but also gives me a sense of purpose and pride. These feelings, they are what being empowered feels like and I love it.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Of course it is the flexibility in terms of working hours. As a working mom, my time is precious and unpredictable sometimes. So I am grateful to have a job that can afford me the time I need to be a good mom whilst also earning a living.
Beyond this, my other favourite part about the job is meeting new people and exploring new places. This job gives you so much opportunity for exploration and every day is a chance for a new adventure.
Any advice for women out there who are having a hard time or are discriminated at their workplace just because of their gender?
I would say speak up. Discrimination isn’t a burden you have to shoulder alone. We are a community and we are here to help each other and lift each other up. This is what I have learnt by being part of the ever growing foodpanda rider community. If you are bold enough to seek help, help will always be there to find you.
What do you have to say to those who think that there are certain jobs that women can’t do?
I would have to politely ask them to stop living in the past. It has been decades since women have taken it upon themselves to prove that we can do any job that a man can.
To echo what Marina Sofiah said, here are several inspiring tweets celebrating International Women’s Day:
Happy women's day, a daughter, sister,wife, mother, mentor, teacher, guide, She plays vital role in our life.
Respect Her, #WeSaluteWomenFarmers
God bless all of them#InternationalWomensDay pic.twitter.com/21GMjtPcjE
— Davinder Singh (@SinghDavinder00) March 8, 2021
— Navneet kaur Sohi??? (@navneetkaursoh3) March 8, 2021
— GSC (@GSCinemas) March 8, 2021
— Shandilya Giriraj Singh (@girirajsinghbjp) March 8, 2021
Happy Women’s Day to all women out there. Shine – not just today but everyday.