While Uber had been busy sending mailers to its customers regarding its successful partnership with UN Women, it looks like that “partnership” never really happened. UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, during the UN’s 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women said there will be no partnership with Uber, the controversial car-hailing service, on jobs for women after all.
Uber, the ride sharing service that has been embroiled in controversies of all sorts in 2014, had been rightly ecstatic about the partnership, and had not failed to say so on March 10, the day after the CSW59 conference started. Several female riders in various parts around the world (wherever these cabs have a presence) have reported being raped or otherwise attacked by Uber drivers, and that partnership was clearly helping in cleaning of a dismantled image.
A blog handled by the company had mentioned the statements of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Mlambo-Ngcuka, which read “we intend to invest in long-term programs in local communities where we live and work, as Uber commits to creating 1,000,000 jobs for women globally on the Uber platform by 2020.”
But the UN Women Executive Director put all talks to rest on March 13, saying:
UN Women will not accept an offer to collaborate on job creation with Uber, so you can be rest assured about that.
This declaration comes after a statement made by coalition representing the global labor unions, who said:
The creation of 1 million precarious, informal jobs will not contribute to women’s economic empowerment and represents exactly the type of structural inequality within the labor market that the women’s movement has been fighting for decades.
The situation was clarified by UN Women in statements sent to various press outlets, which effectively settles the matter. Looks like the company had sponsored an event devoted to a 1995 conference that had made history; for advancing women’s rights. The statement says:
Uber has provided sponsorship for UN Women’s event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action: ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality,’ 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. At this point, we do not plan to expand the collaboration.
So, that’s that.
When asked about the latest statements coming out from UN Women, a Uber spokesperson told The Tech Portal,
Uber was proud to sponsor the UN Women event last week, and we share their vision of accelerating economic opportunity for women globally. As part of our commitment to this vision, Uber set an ambitious goal to create 1,000,000 jobs for women as drivers on the Uber platform by 2020. Uber will be seeking advice from UN Women and groups around the world on the best way to achieve the important goal of economic equality and opportunity for women.
So from partnership, it has come down to “seeking advice”.