“Over the last year under the direction of Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, it’s been very clearly set out that safety is our number one priority,” Uber’s regional GM in Australia and New Zealand Susan Anderson told Women’s Agenda. “I came into this role in April with a mandate that safety is the number one thing to focus on as a business.”
Keeping people safe from violence, both on and off the app, is something Anderson says the ride sharing business takes very seriously. Earlier this year Uber unveiled a suite of new safety features in the App, including the ability to share your ride and destination with someone else, and an emergency button that drivers and riders can access.
“No form of transport is 100% free of incidents but we are committed to doing our part and promoting the safe use of our app, tackling tough issues, and mitigating any incidents,” Anderson says.
More broadly raising awareness of violence against women and driving prevention efforts in the communities in which Uber operates, is a “responsibility” Anderson wants to fulfil.
“We want to activate our network of employees, riders, driver- and delivery-partners across Australia and New Zealand around this issues,” Anderson says.
To this end Uber will be supporting the WESNET (Women’s Services Network) in Australia and the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network (SAPN) in New Zealand.
“We will be providing them with financial grants to assist them to continue to do their work in the community,” Anderson says.
The business is also forming a Women’s Safety Forum comprised of thought-leaders and local academics and experts in gendered violence to help ensure the business can understand how best to effect change.
Practical education for both driver-partners and riders to help improve awareness and prevention of women’s safety and gender based violence is also being rolled out.
On Sunday, the 25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, all riders and driver-partners will see a message in the Uber app highlighting the importance of taking a stand for women’s safety.
Anderson says these initiatives were borne from “honest conversations” with local experts who are on the frontline dealing with gendered violence.