Frans Hiemstra, Uber General Manager for Sub Saharan Africa
Women empowerment is not only a women’s focus but also requires the participation of men to help address the gender disparity problem that continues in our society today. As we mark Women’s Month in South Africa, we are reminded of the leading role women play in our society. Whether in top executive positions or the female drivers who transport our riders daily – women certainly are moving into the driver’s seat of their own lives, both professionally and personally.
It’s no secret that women are very much underrepresented in the tech and transport industry but companies like Uber have allowed women to enter a traditionally male-dominated industry and have contributed to this shift by championing equality and creating an inclusive environment.
Our Uber community is made up of diverse, creative, and bright women that we’re proud to stand by every day. We are committed to creating economic opportunities for women, whether it be for drivers or employees, and we value the growth and advancement of women in our organisation. With this in mind, we remain committed to building a strong community of women and allies to share knowledge, provide access to leadership and mentoring, as well as attract and retain top talent.
Playing our part to support and upskill women by developing them professionally, has given Uber the opportunity to drive change that is positive, meaningful and empowering. Driving and promoting the advancement of women employees at Uber has been made possible through our network, access to leadership, professional development and peer mentoring.
Women in the driver’s seat
Like other industries or sectors, ridesharing bears the same legacy and structural inequality that has kept women from participating equally in the global economy. Factors such as financial and digital inclusion as well as access to assets such as vehicles all play a role in women’s ability to make the most of ride sharing. [2018 IFC report].
As part of our strategy to include more women drivers, we have created a women’s empowerment feature that provides women drivers with the choice of being connected to women riders. We are also targeting 50% female drivers in our partnership with Moove, a flexible car ownership company, to increase access to car ownership for drivers.
Playing our part to support and upskill women by developing them professionally, has given Uber the opportunity to drive change that is positive, meaningful and empowering. This wouldn’t be possible without some key partnerships we have formed exclusively for women drivers. One such partnership is with African Management Institute (AMI), which provides women with the necessary skills needed to thrive as independent entrepreneurs and help them expand their income generation opportunities for their families and communities.
We believe that good things happen when people can move, whether across town or toward their dreams, which is why Uber prides itself in offering women the opportunity to generate income flexibility. This allows women to pursue whatever they desire, whether it’s continuing their studies, running another business or simply wanting more time for family. We are happy to say job flexibility is at the core of what we offer.
As we celebrate women this month, and everyday, let us be reminded of the leading role that women play in driving business forward. The events of the last year and a half have turned workplaces upside down. Job security has been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has intensified challenges that women already faced and we feel privileged that we have offered women an opportunity to earn through these challenging times. We are committed to creating opportunities for female driver-partners and our employees, as we are always looking at ways to provide women with additional skill sets that help them in whatever role they choose to play.