Uber, the private car app, claimed it will create 1 million jobs for women by 2020 this week. The company is partnering with UN Women by closing the gap in its obviously male-dominated workplace. Uber specified they will all be for driving positions, but now the question isn’t about job availability. The real question is: Are there women who want to work for Uber?
With all of the sexual harassment cases piling up against Uber drivers, it seems like a good move for Uber to add more female drivers. This way, female riders might feel more comfortable using the app and avoid uncomfortable, even unsafe rides. This seems to be Uber’s way of making amends with customers who have been harassed by a drivers in the past (and present). With the opening of 1 million jobs by 2020, that should, in theory, give a higher likelihood of having a female driver in 55 countries. At the same time, teaming up with UN Women is a good PR move for the company, giving them a more female-friendly outlook.
Uber Press release:
Today, UN Women and Uber are launching a partnership to work together around the world toward a shared vision of equality and women’s empowerment.
We intend to invest in long-term programs in local communities where we live and work, as Uber commits to creating 1,000,000 jobs for women globally on the Uber platform by 2020.
Join the conversation and help ensure the UN Women’s mission of economic empowerment is heard.
This important mission can only be accomplished when all women have direct access to safe and equitable earning opportunities. We look forward to a partnership where UN Women and Uber will drive more access to these types of opportunities around the world.
Please stay tuned for updates on our efforts.
Executive Director, UN WomenTravis Kalanick
However, the underlying problem of Uber’s frequent sexual harassment claims is unlikely to be swept under the rug. While the company apologizes and provides a credit for riders with bad experiences, I’m curious what Uber will they do if their new female drivers are on the receiving end. If a driver is not conducting up to standards, then he or she will be dismissed. And what will happen if a female driver is harassed by a male rider? What kind of actions, if any, can Uber take?
Before these jobs for women are available, Uber must address the safety issues that could arise from them. Will riders be able to mark a preference for a certain driver? Will drivers be able to rate riders? Even then, are 1 million female drivers enough, given that Uber has expanded to 55 countries? It’s a good idea in theory, but we’ll have to see Uber’s execution. Hopefully, Uber has learned from its mistakes.
Personally, I think one easy solution for Uber would be adding a gender preference feature for female drivers and passengers. What’s your take?