Op-Ed: Women Can Feel Empowered to Achieve Their Goals Through Uber
Updated: Jun 4
Writing Assignment for CCM701 - Seneca
Deborah Jowig, president, Californian Assembly of Empowered Women (CAEW)
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 28, 2020 - Women have places to go and people to see, and they should feel confident arriving at their destination in an Uber. Women are more independent than ever with consistently changing gender roles, third-wave feminism and equality rights in political discourse.
Women can choose to go where and when they want with whom they wish to go. Uber allows women to safety get a ride without having to worry about finding parking, renting a car in a city across the country or enjoying a beverage while out on the town.
Uber provides transportation services with appropriate and proactive safety measures for young women to use the program. Users aged 25-44 years make up 45 per cent of the US Uber userbase, while 16-24 year old users make up 37 per cent of the total. Forty-eight per cent of Uber users identify as female in the United States. These people are in often in the prime of their careers with a priority of meeting people in a variety of locations through globalization.
The Uber app contains safety features and a safety toolkit, which contrasts most current regional taxi technology. The application itself includes a button to call 911 for emergency assistance, access to a 24/7 customer support team, a sharing option for trip tracking and two-way ratings for passengers and drivers.
The reviews are a key feature to help women feel confident in who their drivers are and who the women accept for their transportation needs. Sarah Cameron, a citizen of Edmonton, Alberta, called CBC radio to share her opinion; she also believes that Uber is safe to use as a single woman. “Uber is a safe option…because the service allows her to pick which drivers she wants depending on the ratings and reviews they've been given on the Uber app,” reported CBC’s Samantha Lui.
"I know who my driver is. If I've ever had an issue, the second I call Uber...their customer service is on it," Cameron said. The main concern is that some people are entering vehicles without checking the licence plate and verifying the ride is for them. People who get into the wrong Uber at a hot spot, such as outside a club, put themselves at risk. If a rider does a basic check, then there is more accountability on the driver to complete the transportation session.
Drivers also undergo a background check and are insured for carrying passengers through Uber. Background checks are mandatory for new Uber drivers and are issued once per year to ensure Uber’s standards on driving and criminal history are upheld.
While some people have claimed background checks for Uber aren’t rigorous because they do not fingerprint, the company found in 2015 that 10 per cent of active taxi drivers from Boston actually failed Uber’s check when applying. People who have a college or advanced degree make up 48 per cent of the US Uber driver population, and another 28 per cent have achieved an AA degree or attended trade school. This data means the driver base is smart, educated and have inherently learned values through their training to be successful in their programs. Uber drivers are also insured while carrying passengers. Uber ensures that if an accident occurs there will be coverage to protect both the riders and drivers involved. A young woman who may or may not have the finances to purchase her own vehicle never mind auto insurance can trust that she will be covered if unfortunately in an accident.
Uber is allowing women the freedom to see new places with the comfort that their driver is reliable. Drivers strive to build a positive rating on the app to get more users to accept their ride; therefore, they would make more money and fulfill the goal for having the job. The only way for drivers to receive higher ratings is to ensure they give excellent service, including the effort to make their riders feel safe.
Finally, passenger privacy is protected to ensure transportation service is the only objective and providing the service is the priority. Contact between users and drivers is all controlled through the app, and phone numbers are not revealed to drivers. RideCheck and on trip reporting enable Uber staff to see where a vehicle is when a passenger is inside a car, and they can check in if the trip is taking longer than expected or the vehicle goes off the intended route.
Location details only available for a limited time, so drivers do have a backlog of passenger addresses. This fact means that no drivers will be able to continually track any young female rider.
One of the benefits of having a record of only recent past trips available to the passengers is that they can report a driver, if necessary. In a taxi or other public transit, you would have to remember to take a picture or write down the information of the driver meanwhile likely being in a state of distress. There is an increased level of accountability for Uber drivers. In the case of a report issued against a driver, that driver’s app access is disabled, and they are suspended during the investigation. This means they can instantly no longer access information or take on new riders. Unfortunately, there are people all over the world that can negatively affect the goals of young females in their daily lives. This initiative from Uber protects any future issues from occurring and ensures the safety of riders.
Uber can be the catalyst for young women to achieve their goals and aspirations in life. It is a service that takes them where they need to be efficiently and safely. Women can feel confident that safety is a priority for Uber as a company and that their decision to use the service is a good one. Uber in continually improving and will help empower women lives.