Uber Attempts to Give Its Reputation a Lift With a UN Partnership to Hire 1 Million Female Drivers
So will the partnership be like Uber, but for jobs?
Ride-sharing giant Uber hasn’t had the greatest track record with women, so they’re finally doing something to try to turn it around—in PR terms, at the very least. They’ve partnered with the United Nations to hire 1 million female drivers by 2020.
Outreach for better employment equality is always good in general and even better in this case, considering that only 14% of Uber’s 160,000 drivers in the United States are women. The partnership with UN Women, a UN organization that works towards global gender equality, was announced on Tuesday with a joint statement in which Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director, said that a cornerstone of gender equality is making sure all women have, “direct access to safe and equitable earning opportunities.”
But however great an opportunity it may be for the women who become drivers under the initiative, it’s hardly a solution to any of the problems with Uber, its customer security, and how it relates to women. There have been many reports of harassment by Uber drivers, and a reported rape by an Uber driver in India led to a temporary ban on the service in New Delhi and the addition of a “panic button” in the app.
“If women are being raped, throwing jobs at them won’t stop the problem,” an Uber user told the Daily Beast. “They need to make fundamental changes to their policies and who they allow to drive for them.”
A higher proportion of female drivers might cut down on the likelihood of these incidents, sure, but it won’t address the root of the problem—not strict enough background checks, not enough customer information security—to effectively stop them from happening.