Meet Vasanthakumari – Asia’s First Woman Bus Driver

Asia’s First Woman Bus Driver Has Been Winning Respect And Hearts Since 1993

In a country where debates on gender equality and gender roles go on incessantly, there is a lady who is subtly showing everyone that actions speak louder than words. She is Asia’s first woman bus driver, M Vasanthakumari.

Asia’s first woman bus driver

Hailing from Kanyakumari, she had started driving at the age of 14 but just for the experience. She dotes on driving ever since. Life had been tough for her but she strived to ease it, and won! Vasanthakumari was married to a widower with four children when she was 19-years-old. She delivered two babies and financial constraints ensued. On learning about 30% reservation for women in Government jobs, she suited up to drive buses. She trained and subsequently cleared the driving test.

Asia’s first woman bus driver, M Vasanthakumari.
Jayalalitha | Vasanthakumari |

It was not without hurdles that she won this ‘battle of the sexes’. Government officials dissuaded her by telling her that even men struggle in this sphere. However, she conquered all with her perseverance. She managed to meet CM Jayalalitha who supported Vasanthakumari in her endeavours.


Vasanthakumari was finally appointed as a bus driver on 30 March 1993. She was subsequently awarded the Raindropss Women Achiever Award in Chennai. Josh Shipp once said, “Perseverance is stubbornness with a purpose” and we think this badass lady best exemplifies it.