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Breaking Barriers in Mozambique’s Transport Industry

Breaking barriers in Mozambique’s transport industry
Photo Courtesy: Adasat Barroso

By: Silvia Garcia

If someone were to ask you, how many transport services in the world, let alone in Mozambique, have women seated at its helm? Some wouldn’t know much about it or consider that the transport industry is a patriarchal sector with men holding its highest positions.

Nonetheless, Manisha Pratapsinh from Mozambique dared to defy these odds to create new opportunities for women and shine a light on what women can do if society overlooks prejudices set after years of discrimination. Manisha isn’t all too unfamiliar with how gender discrimination could affect a person. As a specialist in civil construction machinery, there are still some intolerances within her career. It worried her about sharing her entrepreneurial skills with the world.

“The major difficulty I had and still face is always having to prove that we are capable of making significant decisions, considering that women are considered the weaker sex. I demonstrate in practice that, regardless of gender, age, and social status, anything is possible with focus and determination,” she said.

She hid her business venture for some, worried about what people would say about trying to make a difference in the transport industry. Fortunately, Manisha isn’t alone in grappling with discrimination from society. Life eventually brought her to equally strong women who inspired her to embrace her entrepreneurial side. 

It was then Manisha knew she had to take on the mantle and pass on the torch to other women who could make a difference in their communities once empowered. Manisha herself knows that life requires sacrifice, but sometimes, it’s all for the best.

“I always say that women are capable of reaching wherever they want. Never stop fighting for a place in society,” she said.

It so happened that her place in her society was to be part of Mozambique’s commuting public so she could witness firsthand the struggles of getting from one place to another. In her previous career, she admitted to experiencing challenges in transporting construction materials from one place to another.

After a quick discussion with her partners over the phone, she decided to establish her bus company, saying, “It was a way to meet the needs of people in rural areas regarding their jobs.”

She proved to everyone that she was well-equipped with the knowledge and experience to run her transportation company. Still, she didn’t close herself off to learning new skills, studying the market, and taking constructive criticism to improve her services.

“One of the strategies I have used to face these challenges is to study the market and identify areas with a higher demand for this type of service,” she said.

Moreover, Manisha maintains her connection with her fellow Mozambicans by hiring all staff and personnel from her home country because they know about what their community needs regarding transport services.

By founding her own bus company, she not only carved a niche for herself but also shattered stereotypes, showcasing the capabilities of women in leadership roles. Her decision to venture into transportation stemmed from a desire to address the pressing needs of rural communities, particularly in accessing employment opportunities. Through her firsthand experiences in civil construction, she recognized the logistical challenges and saw an opportunity to make a tangible difference. Despite initial apprehensions and societal pressures, Manisha remained steadfast in her pursuit, driven by a vision of inclusivity and empowerment.

So, the next time you’re wondering about what women can do, think about Manisha and how she set the wheels of change in motion in Mozambique, making lives better through her bus company and spreading the message that anyone can make a difference if they’re deeply passionate about it. 

Published by: Martin De Juan

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