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Web-based taxi firm Careem pledges to hire more women drivers

Aasia Abdul Aziz, one of the pioneer women drivers of Careem, drives her car in Karachi in this December 6, 2016 photo. (Reuters)
DUBAI: The CEO and co-founder of the web-based taxi company Careem on Thursday pledged to hire more women drivers and have as much as 20,000 female captains by 2020 to address rising demand in the Middle East.
“We realize that up until today we have focused our efforts predominantly on attracting and catering to male captains. It’s time for us and the entire industry to wake up,” Mudassir Sheikha, CEO and co-founder of Careem, said in a statement to coincide with the celebration of International Women’s Day.
“Not only is there a moral obligation to do so, but there’s also a huge opportunity to grow our business around women and give them the economic opportunity to excel. Women are often the primary breadwinners and looking for alternative, flexible ways to support their families.”
Careem currently has female captains – as the company calls its drivers – in UAE, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon and Palestine in its 13-country network. Pakistan has the most number of women captains, who drive bikes, rickshaws as well as cars.
In Saudi Arabia, Careem registered more than 2,000 women in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam after the government announced in September that women would now be allowed to drive.
“With a female-only call center already operational in Jeddah, Careem will look to launch a female-only training center in the Kingdom later this year with specialized training materials and women coaches,” the company said.
Careem will also address the needs of mothers wishing to register on their platform, looking into incentive structures and comfortable, flexible environments for them to work in, it added.
The company recognizes the economic impact of women, wanting to enable that growth, Careem said.

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