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Uber and UNFPA stand together against gender-based violence

Gender-based violence and femicide remains a real issue in South Africa and globally, where an average of 137 women are killed every day by a member of their own family. To lend its voice in support of the 30th anniversary of the Global 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, Uber in partnership with UNFPA has launched the Ride to Protect campaign.

The global theme this year is ‘Orange the world: End violence against women now!’ To follow this theme, Uber will illuminate the app in orange to mark the 16 Days of Activism, with the hope of reaching hundreds of thousands of South Africans who use the Uber App.

“The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is proud to partner with Uber, as we work with governments and advocate for companies and organisations to take lead in eliminating Gender- Based Violence in South Africa. We are calling on legislators, journalists, civil society and those with influence to speak out, stand up and take action,” says Tlangelani Shilubane, UNFPA Assistant Representative/OIC.

Sexual misconduct and assault know no boundaries and affect all genders and communities around the globe, including the Uber community. “Our intention with this partnership is to shine a light on GBV which continues to plague our society and communities around the world,” adds Shilubane.

Action in motion

When it comes to fighting sexual violence, education is key. “Uber has long held the position that all women have a right to feel safe, and as such we remain committed to putting safety at the forefront and empowering riders and drivers every day,” says Busisiwe Khaba, Head of Public Policy for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Like other industries or sectors, ride-hailing bears the same legacy and structural inequality that has kept women from participating equally in the global economy. Factors such as financial and digital inclusion as well as access to assets such as vehicles all play a role in women’s ability to make the most of ride-hailing. [2018 IFC report].

“As part of Uber’s strategy to include more women drivers, we have rolled out the Women Rider Preferred feature nationally, that provides women drivers with the choice of being connected to women riders. We believe that gender shouldn’t be a barrier to feeling safe while earning a living,” says Khaba.

To help drivers advocate for the voices of women, Uber will continue to offer mandatory sexual misconduct training as part of its driver sign up process. Currently 94% of drivers on the Uber App have complied while the remaining 6% are within the window period of completion. “Our commitment to safety remains strong hence we are always hard at work to improve our features. Some of these include the SOS button on the app and our emergency response team, which is available 24hrs a day,” adds Khaba.

“We urge everyone to challenge inequality and violence and hold the government and our communities to account in claiming our basic rights so that we can live lives of dignity, equality and justice because women’s rights are human rights,” says Shilubane.

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