Ride-hailing major Uber on Monday said it will gender sensitise one lakh drivers in an expanded partnership with the Manas Foundation by end of the year.
Uber had partnered with the Manas Foundation – an NGO working in the field of mental health, gender equity, and justice – in 2018 to sensitise select drivers and ensure they’re more courteous and attentive to the needs of women riders. Through in-person sessions conducted across seven Indian cities before the pandemic, the partnership had covered 63,000 drivers.
“After a brief halt in sessions due to COVID-19, Uber India and the Manas Foundation will now be delivering them virtually over Zoom in 34 cities,” a statement said.
One virtual gender sensitisation session will be conducted every day, five days a week across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad; and on alternate Saturdays in smaller cities pan-India, it added.
“These gender sensitisation sessions educate drivers on how men and women use public transport systems, the extent of harassment women face in public spaces and highlight the role of drivers in addressing the issue. They also learn how to modify their professional behaviour to make women feel safer and commit to being a part of the solution,” it said.
Pavan Vaish, Head of Driver, Supply and City Operations (Mobility) at Uber India and South Asia, said safety is at the core of everything Uber does.
“Our goal is to enable safe transportation for women, which in turn has a huge impact on the choices they make and the opportunities they can access. Our partnership with Manas Foundation has been very positively received by drivers who display their certificates with great pride inside their cars,” he added.
Monica Kumar, the co-founder of Manas Foundation, said drivers are important stakeholders in making public transport safe and equal for women.
“They play a crucial role to promote women’s mobility and these gender sensitisation sessions are designed to make them socially responsible and activate behavioural change…(we) are confident that these new virtual sessions will be received well and we will be able to contribute towards enhancing women’s safety,” Kumar said.
To enhance safety on its platform, Uber has pledged $5 million to thought-leading women’s safety organisations through 2022 as part of its global Driving Change initiative.