Uber has launched a new in-app feature that allows its female and non-binary drivers to accept women-rider-only trip requests.
The rideshare company has added the Women Rider Preference to provide its drivers with more choice over the rides they accept and give them more confidence to drive during optimum earning hours, like in the evening.
It is accessible through the Uber Driver app and allows female and non-binary drivers to indicate a preference to only pick up women.
Drivers who identify as female and non-binary will automatically have access to the feature.
As women make up a small number of drivers on the platform, there are hopes that the female-friendly feature will encourage more female and non-binary drivers to join and contribute to a more gender equal representation across the international company.
Uber has noted a 40 per cent increase in active female drivers in Mexico since the in-app feature went live in March 2020.
Catia Fazio, 47, has been an Uber driver since 2019 because it provided her with the flexibility to work other part-time jobs, socialise and earn extra money.
The single mother from Melbourne said she felt comfortable driving at all hours of the day and at night but knew other women drivers could be more fearful for their safety.
“I’ve rarely had any bad experience with my passengers,” Ms Fazio said.
“It’s (Women Rider Preference) a great option for someone that has some hesitancy for their safety, and having that added peace of mind can enable women to drive at night when generally they wouldn’t.”
Ms Fazio said many of her passengers told her they felt safer having a female driver and she encouraged other single mothers to join up.
“It would be great to see more female drivers because it’s so flexible and is a job you can work around your lifestyle,” she said.
“I haven’t turned back since I started driving and I highly recommend it to any woman that’s interested.”
Uber Australia’s director of driver and marketplace Emma Foley said the platform should reflect the diverse communities it operated in and hoped the move would unlock more earning opportunities for women and non-binary individuals.
“Women that earn with the Uber app do so because it enables them to be their own boss, earn flexibly around their lifestyle and in some cases, support a side hustle,” she said.
“By providing greater peace of mind with Women Rider Preference, we hope to support women and non-binary driver-partners in amplifying their current earning hours while unlocking barriers preventing Australian women and non-binary individuals from accessing flexible earnings that support their ambitions.”