Anna Santana |
Santa Cruz de Tenerife (EFE).- When Conchi Armas entered TITSA as a driver in 1999, there were passengers who refused to get on the bus. Twenty-four years later, there are people who say to children “look, a woman” when they see Mónica Torres in front of a tram. But both are clear: the road is also for women because “we really want to, and we can still”.
They are part of those attending the event held this Wednesday by the Association of Women Carriers of the Canary Islands to commemorate March 8 at the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Interchange, where between batucadas and a final performance by Pepe Benavente they have testified to their work in this ambit.
The atmosphere has been festive around a photographic exhibition that has valued the role of women in the transport sector, and where passengers in transit can discover that Ana María Rodríguez was the first driver of TITSA, in 1989, and The first taxi driver was Candelaria Díaz, thirteen years earlier, who left the profession because “going alone at night…”.
With flower headbands in her hair in homage to Frida Kahlo, Raquel Velázquez, owner of Transportes Velázquez in Gran Canaria, has commented that her beginnings in the family business were not easy, since everyone in the world was male and yet, it has been a natural trajectory “because we have sucked it since we were little”.
Raquel Velázquez has not hesitated to encourage “to continue adding women” to the world of transport and has underlined it with an exclamation: “I love a good road!”.
For her part, Conchi Armas has commented on how she started at TITSA in 1999 with still very few women in the public transport company of the Cabildo de Tenerife but, she stresses, the arrival of female drivers was well received and was “an adaptation” by everyone.
It is true that at first some passengers commented “oops, a woman at the wheel, I won’t get in, or you have to be careful”, and some even commented “what are you doing here that you’re not at home”, but “society has advanced ”, says Armas.
Mónica Torres, who has been a tram driver for 13 years, points out that in this medium “the issue is worse” because when entering the stations she always hears grandparents, fathers or mothers comment to the children “look, it’s a woman”, and he is concerned about how it is transmitted to childhood that it is peculiar that there is a woman in charge of a means of transport.
It is necessary to change “the chip” to raise awareness that jobs “are for everyone”, regardless of whether it is a man or a woman, but it is also necessary to reflect on the fact that a public company must have an equality plan that, in the case of Metropolitano de Tenerife, it does not exist.
During the first ten years of Mónica Torres on the tram there were only six conductors compared to more than 80 men in the same job, and now more women have joined and one of them has been trained as a regulator at the checkpoint, the first in this function.
For this reason, she considers that women must be encouraged to apply for recruitment calls because “they can just like a man, it has nothing to do with force”, to which Conchi Armas stresses that it is possible that girls do not have the professional perspective of being drivers “but we are capable”.
“I have always thought that dissemination could be done in schools, among Primary and ESO students, both to talk about the behavior and care of this public service and also so that they see it as a possible profession”, he points out.
In 2014, Conchi Armas was promoted to traffic chief, the only woman with this position in the urban service of TITSA, a company that does apply its equality plan, and points out how it is “a reward, a satisfaction” to know “that the service has taken to the streets, that each driver has his vehicle and his route sheet” and the day is carried out regularly.
Mónica Torres had been a tourist bus and school transport driver for seven years when she decided to apply for a position on the tram, a job “that I like, I live it” and concludes with a summary of her profession: “I really want to, because we can same” as a man.
Both walk again towards the exhibition in which photos are shown indicating that the novelist Emilia Pardo Bazán was the first Spaniard to drive a car, in 1904; that a year earlier Mary Anderson invented the windscreen wiper, which prevented you from sticking your arm out of the car, while Margaret Wilcox patented the first car heating system in 1893 and Gladys West developed in the 1950s the mathematics that gave rise to the GPS. EFE