The US-based ride-hailing platform Uber has undertaken a new initiative to further the cause of empowering women in Saudi Arabia. Dubbed Masaruky — Arabic for “your path” — this two-year initiative will focus on increasing the participation of women in the country’s workforce.
Masaruky is designed to make life easier for women on multiple fronts — be it by providing better access to affordable transportation or by facilitating flexible and part-time economic opportunities using Uber’s homegrown technology.
Currently, Saudi has roughly 1.3 million working women who constitute 22% of the total workforce. The country plans on increasing that figure to 30% by 2030.
Uber plans on kicking off the campaign with an initial pledge of roughly $277,000 (SR 1 million). This fund will be used to make driving schools accessible for women who want to learn how to drive but don’t have the necessary resources.
According to a recent study by Uber and Ipsos, an overwhelming 93% of Saudi females viewed the repeal of the ban on women driving in a positive light, which will come into effect in June this year. The same study claimed that nearly one in three women surveyed said that they were interested in taking up driving as a means of earning.
“With Masaruky and the announcement of the 1 million riyals pledge, we’re seeking to contribute to the new chapter for women mobility in the kingdom,” said Anthony Khoury, the Regional General Manager at Uber.
“The same way our technology has brought a positive impact to more than 18 cities around the kingdom, this will help us in further supporting women towards achieving their economic ambitions and goals, because not only do we enable more convenient ways to move around cities – but we also strive to drive change that is positive, meaningful and economically empowering.”