A New Reason To Feel Good About Your Uber Addiction

Photo: QUIQUE GARCIA/Getty Images.
Here's another reason to Uber everywhere, guilt-free: The ride-sharing company just announced a new global partnership with UN Women that aims to create one million jobs for women by 2020. That's right, a million. It sounds ambitious, but also great.

"We share UN Women’s vision of equality and women’s empowerment, and the Uber platform makes so much sense as a way to help accomplish this mission," Uber spokeswoman Molly Spaeth told us. In a joint statement, the director of UN Women and the CEO of Uber agree, writing,"This...can only be accomplished when all women have direct access to safe and equitable earning opportunities... UN Women and Uber will drive more access to these types of opportunities around the world."

There are a still a lot of question marks about what exactly these million jobs will be — Uber’s general counsel, Salle Yoo, told BuzzFeed, "In the coming weeks, we plan to sit down with UN Women and discuss the most innovative ways to [create these jobs]" — but it's a start. And, a well-timed one, especially since Uber has had a few PR missteps concerning women of late. 

In a video released along with the news, Uber suggests that working as a driver can help bring women professional independence. "Since I started working with Uber...I’ve been able to divide time for my family and also for me to work," says one female driver in Nairobi. Another, in London, says that driving an Uber gives her "empowerment" — being able to set her schedule and work when she wants. She also notes that "women are better drivers." (We won’t comment on that one.)

Another driver in the video vaguely addresses some of the safety concerns for which the company has been criticized. A Colombia-based woman says she feels confident driving because there’s no actual money exchanged in an Uber transaction. "The great benefit Uber gives us is that it’s a cashless platform," she says, adding that women "cannot allow our ideas and our dreams to be crushed by anyone."

Of course, Uber’s primary competitor, Lyft, is also making strides to close the gender gap: Lyft’s board is now nearly 50% female, and more than 30% of its drivers are women (only 14% of Uber’s U.S. drivers are female).

No matter which ride-sharing app you use — or if you prefer plain old taxis, that’s cool, too — it’s nice to see companies competing to create safe, flexible, reasonably paying jobs for women. 
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