The digital economy is rapidly growing, more so in African countries where traditional job opportunities are scarce and unemployment continues to climb. For example, apps like Uber can enable economic revival while providing earnings opportunities to drivers with enhanced features, unique partnerships and structured support during these uncertain times. More importantly, ridesharing has allowed women to enter a traditionally male-dominated industry and given them increased spending power and access to economic opportunity.
Since launching in the region in 2015, Uber’s technology has made a significant impact in creating entrepreneurship opportunities for women drivers on the app in Kenya. We take a look at two women drivers, as they reflect on why they joined and continue to drive with the app in Kenya.
Mercy joined Uber almost one and-a-half years ago after losing her job as an administrator. She decided to join the platform after speaking to a few women she knows who are Uber driver-partners and it sounded like a good opportunity. Mercy enjoys the flexibility of being an Uber driver and explains that she starts accepting trips between 06:30 – 07:30 AM, depending on what she has on her schedule for the morning. She also enjoys driving with Uber because the app exposes her to locations in Mombasa she has never visited before, and she gets to meet new people every day and experience different cultures.
Jane also joined Uber after losing her job and sitting at home with nothing to do for five months due to unemployment. Before driving with Uber, Jane was a volunteer driver and then worked as a driver for a Nairobi family for a few months, and so explains that driving comes naturally to her. Jane has been an Uber driver for almost four years and has a rating of 4.93 which she believes is a testament to her good service and reliability as a driver.
When asked about what she appreciates most about driving with Uber she says, “Uber’s customer care service is good to me as a driver and our customers. In case of anything, they are always able to sort it out”.
Women are known for their ability to juggle many activities at once. With the Uber business model, women can tackle their tasks with ease as they are in control of their schedules. Not only has Uber created a platform for a new breed of entrepreneurs but are gender-inclusive with their offering, therefore, contributing ultimately to the empowerment of women in Kenya, and across the African region.