Uber launches feature that lets female drivers in Saudi Arabia avoid taking male passengers

PHOTO: Uber has launched the "Masaruky" or "your path" initiative in Saudi Arabia, which allows female drivers to avoid picking up male passengers. PlayUber KSA
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Uber has launched a new initiative that will allow female drivers in Saudi Arabia to avoid picking up male passengers.

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The "Women Preferred View" feature in the app gives women drivers the choice to select a preference of women-only riders, according to a statement by Uber. Research conducted by global market research and a consulting firm Ipsos found that 74% of prospective female drivers in the country would only be interested in driving female riders, according to Uber.

The rideshare company tested a pilot version of the feature last year and has now incorporated it fully to female drivers in Saudi Arabia. It is unclear if the company plans to offer similar options for women drivers in other countries.

The new feature is part of the "Masaruky" or "your path" initiative, which was created in 2018 in part to increase women's participation in the workforce after Saudi Arabian law changed in September 2017 to allow women to drive, Uber said in a statement.

After months of research, Uber found that 93% of Saudi women saw the lift to the driving ban as positive and another 78% planned to obtain a driver's license, according to the statement.

Uber has seen an "incredible response" in Saudi Arabia after the launch of Masaruky, Abdellatif Waked, General Manager of Uber Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

"We launched this feature in response to the feedback we received from women drivers in Saudi Arabia and we are committed to always being thoughtful of how we can always improve their experience driving on the app," Waked said. "This is just the start, and we will continue working with experts to leverage our external research as we move forward to ensure that this is in the best interest of women driver-partners in the Kingdom."