UN Women And Uber Aren't Partnering After All, And It Looks Unlikely That They Ever Will
Some unfortunate news about Uber today. It seems that Uber won't be partnering with UN Women after all, despite earlier reports that the company had teamed up with the United Nation's group to create 1 million female jobs by 2020. Less than two weeks after the partnership was first announced, UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has publicly stated that the partnership will not be happening.
“I want to assure you that not only are we listening, we are aligned,” Miambo-Ngcuka said, addressing concerns raised after the announcement. “And I also want to assure you that UN Women will not accept the offer to collaborate on job creation with Uber.”
The announcement comes following numerous critiques regarding Uber's track record when it comes to female passengers and employees, as well as the unstable nature of working for Uber given that drivers are technically considered "contractors" and are responsible for their own cars, insurance, and expenses.
Public Service International, an international federation of trade unions, wrote in a statement that, “We fail to see how a million precarious, informal jobs could contribute to women’s economic empowerment." In fact, they claim, such a partnership "represents exactly what the women’s movement has been fighting for decades." They added, "No company should make commitments on gender equality and women’s empowerment while simultaneously undermining those goals with their business and employment practices."
And it seems that UN Women agrees — or else has other reasons for rethinking the partnership. Either way, it doesn't appear to be happening. Uber was an official sponsor of a recent UN Women event, but the organization says it has no further plans to collaborate with the company.
“Beyond this event, we have not discussed opportunities to engage with Uber, including in the context of their commitment to create 1 million jobs for women in the next five years,” said spokeswoman Oisika Chakrabarti. “At this point, we do not plan to expand the collaboration.”
Uber has yet to make a statement regarding the change.
So there you have it. Of course, it's still possible — and even likely — that Uber will continue to provide employment opportunities for women, but in terms of the type of employment women's groups should be fighting for, UN Women is probably right to back out. Employment opportunities for women are vitally important, but that doesn't mean women should settle for jobs that are less stable, less secure, and don't come with benefits. Women deserve better.
You can see a video of Miambo-Ngcuka denying the partnership below.