On March 10, 2015, UN Women, a United Nations organization that promotes gender equality and female empowerment across the globe, and mobile transportation company Uber launched an initiative that aims to foster gender equality and women’s empowerment around the world.
According to an Uber press release, the company intends 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”.
The announcement of the partnership came on the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Beijing Declaration which called for the formulation of a plan to advance gender equality and empowerment. The endeavor hopes to help achieve UN Women’s goal of increasing women’s access to economic opportunity by providing them employment as Uber drivers.
Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a joint statement that this endeavor is based on the understanding that such an ambitious, but necessary goal can only be achieved when all women are granted “direct access to safe and equitable earning opportunities”. As Uber expands to more cities around the world (they have a presence in approximately 290 cities right now), these goals begin to seem more feasible within the framework of the partnership.
Uber has been lauded as an easy and efficient method of making money due to its simple mobile platform and its flexible scheduling system. The company currently employs more than 160,000 drivers in the United States, 14 percent of which are women. These numbers are steadily rising across the globe and the two organizations hope that their program will provide an opportunity to women to generate income and become financially independent.
The partnership follows on the heels of UberMilitary, another socially responsible program launched by Uber last fall which sought to employ 50,000 service members, veterans and military spouses as drivers by 2016. Uber’s most recent statistics have shown that 10,000 drivers with such military backgrounds had joined and had earned $18 million.