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Driving License for Women: Step to Equality and Independence

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We are a non-governmental organization Driving Training Center. Our team has developed a project that will help Ukrainian women become free and independent. Our goal is to increase the number of women with driving skills, boost their self-sufficiency and fight gender inequality. In the first place, we train women abused by their husbands physically, economically or psychologically, women who have been able to break free from domestic aggression and women who are raising a child on their own without any help of the child’s father. For this purpose we provide a free driving course with the further obtaining of a category B driving license for single mothers and women suffering from any kind of domestic violence.


The statistics show that every third Ukrainian woman has been subjected to psychological, economic, physical or sexual violence. According to the Main Directorate of the National Police, in the Dnipropetrovsk region in 2019 there were 8927 complaints about domestic violence against women, in 2020 this number increased to 9669. In reality the scale of the issue is difficult to be estimated, because most women prefer to be silent to avoid judgment. These months the situation is getting worse due to the pandemic, as the couples are forced to spend all the time together, which inevitably leads to conflicts and creates the basis for domestic violence. The number of divorces has increased, but we do not know for sure how many Ukrainian women are still holding on to their aggressive husbands due to the lack of confidence and strong psychological and financial dependence.

Disregard for women is deeply rooted in our mentality. Traditionally, a man is considered to be the head of the family. It should be his responsibility to ensure financial security of all the family members, while a woman is supposed to bring up children, do all the household chores and be an obedient wife. Those ancient traditions are reflected in the modern distribution of gender roles, as very often Ukrainian men demonstrate their superiority in family relations and other spheres.

Stereotypically, driving is meant to be the men’s privilege which is beneficial for them in both family and professional life, so it turns out that an ability to drive a car is one of the aspects of a man’s dominance in Ukrainian families. Currently more and more married women are joining our Driving Training Center, dreaming of a driving license. Our survey shows that the main reason for this is their desire to become "equal" to their husbands, to be able to drive their children to school or a kindergarten without asking their husbands and, finally, to feel more independent.

Thus, lack of a driving license is one of the factors that make a Ukrainian woman feel inferior to her partner, financially and psychologically insecure, incapable of independent existence, which forces her to continue the toxic relationship even under circumstances of domestic violence.

Moreover, those women who had enough courage to start a new life without their abusive partners are often left to bring up their children alone. At present, there are 195 000 single mothers in Ukraine, who often face discrimination when trying to find a job, because many employers see them as unreliable workers, unable to do their job properly due to family circumstances. Ukraine has not developed any social training and educational programs for single mothers. Receiving a monthly allowance of up to 2000 hryvnias (about 70 dollars), they have no financial opportunity to acquire new skills and qualifications, in particular driving skills, though it may be vital for their well-being.

All the factors mentioned above make women stay with their partners and depend on their money and opinion, exposing themselves to criticism, neglect and humiliation. Consequently, emotional and physical state of many Ukrainian women is concerning. Married women tend to feel depressed, frustrated and insecure under the pressure of their husbands. At the same time, single mothers experience similar hardships due to their loneliness, lack of support and constant fear of not being able to ensure their children’s future.


Under the project, 15 single mothers and women suffering from domestic violence will be provided with free driving lessons. Our full course consists of the theoretical part with interactive lessons on traffic rules, basic medicine and car structure and the practical part, during which our trainees obtain driving skills and get prepared for the exam. After passing the exam they receive a category B driving license. So, during the whole course women will obtain practical driving skills and get an important psychological support from our team and other women with similar life experience. To change the lives of 3 women and teach them how to drive we need 1350 dollars (450 dollars per each).


Healthy communication and new skills will make women more socially adapted and help them get employment. In recent years a driving license opens a wider range of vacancies, many of which offer flexible working hours necessary for single mothers. A flexible schedule will give them an opportunity to balance child-raising and work. For some jobs (like a trading agent) it is even possible to carry a child on board while completing job responsibilities. As a result, after receiving a driving license the chances to find a suitable job will increase by far. For single mothers it will mean an opportunity to ensure their children’s welfare, and women subjected to domestic tyranny will be able to start a new life, as their newly-obtained skills and financial security will build up their self-efficacy and self-confidence. An ability to drive a car will make women more confident, independent and will open for them new career prospects.

Their mindset will change as well. As a result, their physical, emotional and social health will improve. The doctors agree that a free woman is a happier woman, and a happy woman is a healthier woman. They will grow as personalities and professionals, contributing to the economic development of the community. In addition, they will be able to educate their children and ensure their well-being, too. Their daughters will be brought up as independent girls either by a strong woman or by a newly created full family. It is well-known that confident and self-sufficient women tend to attract and choose decent partners, so the basis for their family will be love, support and gender equality. This type of families will contribute to the development of a healthy and prosperous society.

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