Gender-based violence is a human rights violation and a serious crime that knows no boundaries. Nearly 1 in 3 women around the world experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, and we know that everyone has an important role to play in addressing this global epidemic. Violence against women is a widespread problem in India, one that needs to be addressed with a multi-sectoral and collaborative approach.
Since Uber arrived in India, they have established themselves as an alternative means of transportation for many, especially for millions of women who seek to move about freely. Women who move to their places of work, who return from academies to their home or who go out to have fun, among other hundreds of activities that women perform every day in our cities.
To date, we’ve made strong progress. As part of its unwavering commitment to set the highest safety standards in the industry, Uber, the world’s largest on-demand ride-sharing company, in partnership with Manas Foundation, a Delhi based NGO working in the field of mental health, gender equity and justice for the last 15 years, held gender sensitisation workshops for over 50,000 driver partners across eight cities, this year.
At Uber, we believe in the transformative potential of technology to create these new alternatives, but at the same time, we recognize that we still have a lot to contribute, specifically in terms of how to confront structural and systemic social phenomena such as gender-based violence. That is why, in addition to continuing to develop technology and processes that contribute to the safety of all those who use the Uber app, we also partnered with Manas Foundation to customise sessions for our driver partners to sensitise them with the nuances of gender and its implications on better behaviour.
Today, to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which also marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, Uber has pledged to exponentially expand the program, which has been received very positively, to ensure many more driver partners are exposed to this initiative.
Manas has already developed a unique, behaviour-change module to engage men in transforming public transport into a safe space for women. These sessions are customised to incorporate our operational learnings and the years of professional expertise that Manas brings on the issue. The workshops cover relevant topics like violence against women and its impact on them, gender and how gender roles are reinforced, the role of driver partners in addressing this issue, how to modify their professional behaviour to make women feel safer, the legal implications and facilitating a social commitment to being a part of the solution. We have seen an overwhelming response from our driver partners who display their certificates with great pride inside their cars.
We have reached out to thousands of driver partners in the country, helped transform public transport into safer spaces for women and aim to continue increasing this number further.