U.N. Says It Won't Work With Uber After Outcry

Less than two weeks after Uber announced U.N. Women + UBER = A Vision For Equality, the partnership is officially off. The decision came after an outcry from union groups claiming that Uber jobs are unstable and poorly paid. “I want to assure you that not only are we listening; we are aligned,” said U.N. Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in the video below. “I also want to assure you that UN Women will not accept an offer to collaborate on job creation with Uber, so you can rest assured about that.”

On March 10, the car service company committed to creating 1,000,000 jobs for women across the world — presumably in the driver’s seat, not the C-suite. The announcement was contentious, in no small part because Uber’s reputation for respecting women isn’t squeaky-clean (see: data privacy scandal, unconscious joyriding, charges of kidnapping and sexual assault, and the harassment of female journalists). 

But, while Uber’s announcement hinted at involvement in a larger collaboration with the U.N., it’s clear the “partners” were misaligned. As U.N. Women senior communications and media specialist Oisika Chakrabarti told Fast Company:

Uber has provided sponsorship for U.N. Women’s event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.’ Beyond this event, we have not discussed opportunities to engage with Uber, including in the context of their commitment to create 1 million jobs for women in the next five years. At this point, we do not plan to expand the collaboration.

Uber gave us its company perspective via email:

Uber was proud to sponsor the UN Women event last week, and we share their vision of accelerating economic opportunity for women globally. As part of our commitment to this vision, Uber set an ambitious goal to create 1,000,000 jobs for women as drivers on the Uber platform by 2020. Uber will be seeking advice from UN Women and groups around the world on the best way to achieve the important goal of economic equality and opportunity for women.

We'll be keeping an eye on this one. 

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