Article summary

  • Bolt has launched a campaign to address the underrepresentation of women in the mobility sector.
  • Currently, only 7.2% of women have considered being drivers on a ride-hailing platform.
  • This is despite nine in ten women saying they have seen living costs increase in the past twelve months.

Bolt, the mobility app company, has announced a €2.5 million pledge to empower more women to drive with Bolt and other ride-hailing platforms.

According to a statement from the company, the pledge forms part of a new campaign launched by Bolt called “Women at the Wheel,” which seeks to address the under-representation of women in the mobility sector and help women access the additional earning opportunities provided by working as a driver on a ride-hailing platform.

The ‘Women at the Wheel’ campaign is running across eleven countries: Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Romania, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Latvia, and Estonia.

The campaign comes at a time when almost nine out of ten women (89%) reported seeing their living costs rise in the past twelve months, according to a survey of 2,000 women that Bolt conducted across four countries in Europe and Africa. While the vast majority (93%) of women surveyed said that they had sought new opportunities to earn additional income over the same period, only 7.2% had considered working as a driver on a ride-hailing platform to earn extra money.

The research conducted by Bolt also found that being a driver continues to be seen as a job predominantly for men, with one in four (25%) respondents saying they have not considered it because it wasn’t an activity they saw themselves doing as a woman.

Women under-represented

Commenting on the initiative, Venus Lim, Bolt’s Director of Central Operations for Ridehailing, said:

  • “Women are under-represented in many parts of society, but in the mobility sector, the inequality is particularly stark.
  • “There are many reasons why many women are unlikely to consider becoming drivers, and this campaign aims to raise awareness of some of the prejudices held against female drivers and make it easier for women to access flexible, independent work on Bolt and other ride-hailing platforms—something that is particularly important now when the cost of living is going up for everyone.”

He added that through the campaign, Bolt has pledged investment in a number of initiatives in different countries to help overcome some of the barriers that prevent them from working in the mobility sector. This includes partnerships with NGOs that campaign on women’s rights and advocate for female drivers, subsidies for licencing costs to make it easier for women to start driving, and the development of new safety features on the Bolt app.

Initiatives in Nigeria

In Nigeria, Bolt said it has continued to champion women’s empowerment in the ride-hailing industry by offering opportunities for women to get a career head start in the tech industry through its Women in Tech internship program. The internship program, now in its third year, offers young women with a keen interest in the tech and ride-hailing industries the opportunity to go through a three-month paid internship program while being mentored by top women in Bolt leadership.

Bolt also keeps enhancing its safety features to ensure that both female drivers and passengers enjoy safe and affordable rides while on the platform. In 2021, Bolt held a driver league competition for drivers as part of its advocacy for service excellence and the continued improvement of its driver rewards program. During the competition, Bolt awarded a top female driver under the women’s league with a brand new car that would help her earn more income as a vehicle owner, which is one of the challenges faced by most drivers in the ride-hailing industry.

  • “As a business, we value all our drivers and recognise that they play an integral role in the continued growth of our brand, and we do not take their commitment and efforts for granted. Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls (UN SDG 5) is a key pillar of our work. We at Bolt believe that we have an opportunity to contribute to bridging the gender gap by allowing women to be self-employed in the digital e-hailing space.
  • “Through the Women at the Wheel campaign, we endeavor to continue offering more women in Nigeria viable economic opportunities to empower them while also advancing the growth of the industry in the market. We remain committed to also ensuring their safety, both as drivers and riders on our platform, and that is why we are constantly reviewing and innovating more safety features to ensure quality measures are in place to deliver the right experience,” said Yahaya Mohamed, Country Manager, Rides.