Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and UN Women's executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka issued a joint statement explaining the goals of the new initiative. It reads, in part:
Today, UN Women and Uber are launching a partnership to work together around the world toward a shared vision of equality and women's empowerment.
We intend 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.
This is an ambitious effort, and one that has the ability to impact many women in need of work across the globe. UN Women — an organization created by the United Nations in 2010 — has been working hard, specifically toward gender equality and the empowerment of women worldwide. One way to ensure both of these goals is by providing better economic opportunities for women, so they can be more financially stable and independent.
The partnership between Uber and UN Women serves to help both organizations. Uber is in a position to expand its operations, and has the capacity and draw to actually create these jobs. And it's significant that they've teamed up with UN Women to specifically target women to fill these global jobs. It's no secret that Uber has had some issues in the past with the way women have been treated by people who work for the car service, and the company has even been accused of ignoring complaints by women who have allegedly been kidnapped or assaulted during a ride.
This new partnership may be part of an image rehabilitation on the part of Uber, but if it is, it's a smart one. By creating more opportunities for women as drivers, they're also hopefully creating a safer space for women passengers who may not feel as safe with male drivers. Only time will tell how successful this initiative will end up being, but it can potentially affect the lives of women beyond simply providing job opportunities.
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