Uber introduces ‘Women Preferred’ option to female drivers in Saudi Arabia
In a global first for Uber, the new feature aims to provide greater access to economic opportunities for Saudi women following the change to law allowing women to drive.
Uber has launched its new ‘Women Preferred View’ feature for women drivers in Saudi Arabia, which allows them to specify they would prefer to be connected with female riders.
The Women Preferred feature underwent a pilot run in 2018 and, thanks to its popularity, has now been incorporated as a full-fledged feature exclusive to women drivers in Saudi Arabia. Following the decriminalisation of female drivers in Saudi Arabia, the new feature is seen as a positive step for women’s rights.
The launch of this unique feature comes on the back of Uber’s Masaruky initiative that aims to increase women’s participation in the workforce through access to affordable transportation, in addition to increasing women’s access to flexible, part-time work.
The newly introduced feature is designed to meet growing interest from Saudi women seeking to benefit from the flexible economic opportunity that companies like Uber can provide. In a statement, Uber also said the feature is part of its “ongoing efforts to be mindful of the cultural landscape in Saudi Arabia”.
Commenting on the announcement, Abdellatif Waked, General Manager of Uber Middle East and North Africa, said: “In 2018, we announced the launch of Masaruky, an initiative aimed towards empowering women with economic opportunities by providing accessible transport solutions. We have seen an incredible response in the Kingdom thus far. As part of this initiative, this newly introduced feature will open new doors and opportunities for women as Uber driver-partners, while being conscientious of local cultural norms.”
He continued: “We launched this feature in response to the feedback we received from women drivers in Saudi Arabia and we are committed to always being thoughtful of how we can always improve their experience driving on the app. This is just the start, and we will continue working with experts to leverage our external research as we move forward to ensure that this is in the best interest of women driver-partners in the Kingdom.”
The new feature was introduced after months of research to understand the perspectives of Saudi women on transport and driving, followed by a pilot run last year. Uber’s research, carried out in collaboration with Ipsos, in February 2018 found almost 31 per cent of those surveyed indicated that they were interested in driving as an earnings opportunity. In a more recent study, the company also found that 74 per cent of prospective women drivers interviewed would only be interested in driving women riders.