BY FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ
Gremio Rosa Movilidad Los Cabos (The Pink Transportation Union of Los Cabos), has been seeking permits to provide safe transportation for women by women as an alternative to both Uber and the local Taxi mafia.
Founding members of the Pink Union, Eva Castillo and Cecilia Juárez, recalled that in one of the first talks they had with the state governor, he listened to them carefully and told them that from the outset they should establish themselves as a company if they wanted any concession for permits. In this case, it was under the ”pink” concept, which dates back to an idea that was realized in Mexico City during the 1960s and ’70s.
“We still didn’t have the articles of incorporation, and he asked us if we were already organized; this was not overnight, so we formed the group, well within the law before a notary, and although the Governor forgets, we have done everything that has been asked of us,” said Eva Castillo.
“The point here is that we, as carriers, and wheel operators, do not want to belong to a union that is already made up of men, and he asked us for a women’s union, and that is how we formed the group of women, with a different concept to offer our transportation services.”
“We are asking that they give us our permits and now it turns out that the Governor is telling us that he never asked us to belong to a union when he told us that face to face at a business event the first time we saw him. We have photos as proof of that conversation.”
“The second time we talked to him was during a delivery of our transportation permit application that took place at the Cultural Pavilion about five months ago, and when we asked the Governor again, he responded by asking us, ”Do you have a union?”
The women of the Pink Transportation Union have implored the BCS Governor for respect, that there be consistency, and that he take into account that they have already submitted documents that constitute they are a legal union.
“In Mexico, the political participation of women has been a gradual and gradual process that achieved great progress with the constitutional reform in 2014,” said Angélica de la Peña, from the Mujeres en Plural Collective.
At a February 2 press conference, the members of Pink Transportation announced they already have 90 registered drivers throughout the state and lamented the recent statements by Governor Castro who has expressed his refusal to include women in the transportation business by denying them their permits.
Evangelina Castillo, head of this movement, announced that “a complaint has already been filed against Governor Víctor Castro Cosío for the crime of discrimination and that the Pink Union will not wait any longer to be included in the transportation business in the Southern Baja California state.”
The first woman in Mexico to receive her taxi license plates and permit was Rosalía Orozco in June 1960 in Mexico City. At that time, Orozco driving a taxi caused a major stir and made national headlines.
Rosalía was a young seamstress who lived on Calle de Laguna de la Mancha in the Colonia Granada. She decided to take driving lessons, buy a car and become a taxi driver since that job would allow her to provide a more steady income for her family. She told the Mexico City newspaper ”El Gran Diario de México” that she was not afraid of working as a taxi driver.
A journalist from the paper accompanied Rosalía during her first trips as an official taxi driver and described the amazement with which both men and women saw her and expressed their admiration for her courage in doing “other things” and for being “brave” in such a “decent” profession.
The pages of the newspaper also included the testimony of Dolores Gómez, a 19-year-old girl who congratulated Rosalía when she saw her behind the wheel, telling her “that it was wonderful for a woman to start out as a car driver” and that “her example would not take long to be imitated, since women have the same rights as men and therefore have the right to work in whatever they want, no matter how risky the profession they select.”
Rocío Castillo, who became an actress and broadcaster, worked as a taxi driver for a while. And like Rosalía, Rocío saw in the car a way to generate income to get out of debt and improve the economy at home. “There are those who express admiration for you and like that it is a woman who provides the service. In the case of women, they told her that they felt safe and expressed their empathy and appreciation for being the same gender; there are men who appreciate my service,” said Castillo.
In 2009, pink taxis driven by women exclusively for reasons of passenger safety appeared as a business in the city of Puebla. The city unveiled a fleet of 35 bright pink cars for women only, and Mexico City followed suit with plans for a similar service in 2010.
Female-only cabs are not only intended to shield women from would-be criminals but also from lewd looks and sexual harassment. The idea came after Mexico City launched a new fleet of women-only buses in January 2008 that refused male passengers. The city also offers women-only space on their metro subway.
In this modern day and age of apps, Uber and GPS location tracking, and so much more, a women’s taxi by women for security reasons makes all the sense in the world.