Following the launch of Uber’s new Women Rider Preference, female and non-binary drivers for the company in Australia are now able to refuse male customers.
According to a statement released on Uber’s website, this feature will be “accessible via the Uber Driver app,” and will let “driver-partners across Australia who identify as a woman or non-binary individual” utilise it from today—Thursday 12 April—turning it on or off whenever they choose. The flexibility is a nice touch, leaving drivers with a say in who their clients are.
Emma Foley, director of driver and marketplace for Uber Australia had this to say about the new addition: “By providing greater peace of mind with Women Rider Preference, we hope to support women and non-binary driver-partners in amplifying their current earning hours, while unlocking barriers preventing Australian women and non-binary individuals from accessing flexible earnings that support their ambitions.”
According to SmartCompany, this change comes after a survey was hosted by Uber where 1,037 women aged 18 to 60 said they were looking for different ways to earn extra cash. More research, as noted by SmartCompany, has shown that 74 per cent of women wanted to start a side-hustle in order to ease income worries, and eight in ten were considering more ways to earn money. Despite all this, 88 per cent shared concerns that there were too many barriers in place that stopped them acting on their wishes, and 83 per cent said they needed more flexibility in order to do this. Quite shocking and deeply saddening statistics.
As a global, very high-profile company with over 3.9 million drivers worldwide, this new freedom for Australian drivers is a step in the right direction for equality and safety for women and non-binary people using the app. Foley said, “The Uber platform should reflect the diversity of the communities we operate in, including equitable gender representation among the driver-partner base.”
Whether this new feature will be rolled out across the globe remains to be seen, but with recent high-profile events such as the Sarah Everard case in the UK, it feels like it will only be a matter of time before it is. Combining women’s safety, gender equality and a drive to increase work opportunities for women and non-binary individuals alike, this represents a very encouraging step in the right direction and one that should be welcomed with open arms.