Increasing evidence shows COVID-19 risks undoing decades of progress for women. Women are often in jobs which are informal or in sectors like retail or tourism that are heavily impacted by the pandemic. Loss of childcare and increased responsibilities at home represent a “parallel crisis” that could keep even more women from the workforce.
However, as markets reopen, the question is not just whether women will have jobs and businesses to go back to, but whether they can get there safely.
Both questions are particularly relevant to ride-hailing, where women risk losing out on the tenuous hold that they’ve gained in the industry. As an increasing part of the transport ecosystem, it’s crucial for ride-hailing companies to look to products and policies that support women as drivers and riders.
In 2018, IFC found that women made up to five percent often one percent or less of ride-hailing drivers—not atypical for the transport sector, where women face barriers ranging from stringent social norms to legal restrictions. At the same time, access to ride-hailing can help women enter a sector in which they are underrepresented. It can also increase women freedom of movement by about 25 percent, supporting their economic opportunities.
There are several steps companies can take to ensure women return to ride-hailing as the sector reopens.