As the world is fighting for gender equality and representation in all areas, Bolt, the popular ride-hailing company, announced its commitment yesterday to promoting gender representation by investing €2.5 million in its new women’s campaign, “Women at the Wheels“.
Bolt’s investment of €2.5 million is aimed at increasing women’s participation in the ride-hailing industry, which offers a flexible and accessible way to earn extra income. The campaign aims to tackle the gender gap in ride-hailing and promote gender equality.
Bolt is actively taking measures to overcome women’s obstacles in the ride-hailing industry by identifying their challenges and preferences. In 2022, the company conducted regular roundtable discussions with their women drivers worldwide and gathered insights from focus groups and individual interviews to develop thoughtful features and benefits to support them.
We wanted to validate the factors that prevent so many women from considering driving as a professionFrom the company’s blog post
After surveying 2,000 women in Europe and Africa in March 2023, who have never been drivers, the findings revealed that only 7.2% of them have considered driving as a way to earn an income. As a result of these findings, Bolt is committed to addressing the concerns and challenges women go through in the ride-hailing business.
Support for women
Bolt’s €2.5 million investment is aimed at promoting gender diversity and encouraging more women to join the ride-hailing industry through its “Women at the Wheel” campaign. The initiative includes various measures, such as creating awareness through video interviews with female drivers and partnering with local NGOs advocating for women’s rights.
It also offers incentives like partnered courses for driving under challenging circumstances and bonuses to jumpstart earnings. The safety of drivers, regardless of gender, is also a top priority for the company as it is on a mission to develop new safety features and subsidize licensing costs to make it easier for women to start driving.
Why women are hesitant to become drivers
Many women are hesitant to become drivers due to various reasons. The ride-hailing industry is often seen as a male-dominated profession, just as the tech industry has been perceived as a male profession. A 2022 report by Zippia revealed that in the US, only 17.6% of drivers are female, while 82.4% are male.
In Africa, there are no available statistics on gender disparity in the ride-hailing business, but it may be higher compared to Western countries due to traditional, cultural, and societal factors. Being bullied and intimidated are some of the reasons that discourage women from becoming drivers, but the object of fascination and bewilderment is another
Based on Bolt’s findings, about 25% of the women surveyed said they had not considered becoming a driver because of their gender, and 15% lacked the confidence to drive for a living. Given the male-dominated nature of the ride-hailing industry, it is understandable to question how a female driver would fare.
In a HumAngle interview with a female Abuja cab driver, she explained that some customers choose not to ride with her because of a lack of trust and fear due to the stereotypes surrounding women’s ability to drive.
According to Bolt’s survey, safety is a significant concern for some women hesitant to become drivers. This might be due to the risk of harassment, prejudice, or mistreatment from male counterparts in the industry or passengers.
With all these findings, Bolt has launched the “Women at the Wheel” campaign to challenge these stereotypes and encourage women to join the ride-hailing industry.
Safety is a priority
Some of the several features for both drivers and riders included in the in-app Safety Toolkit include:
- The driver trip-sharing: This allows drivers to share their location in real-time with friends or family, providing an additional layer of safety.
- Rider management: This allows Bolt to block customers who exhibit inappropriate behaviour or consistently receive low rider ratings.
By implementing these safety measures, Bolt hopes to create a safer environment for all users of its ride-hailing platform. It is also gradually rolling out the ‘Women for Women’ category that allows female drivers to drive female riders for extra safety and convenience.
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