Cab-hailing company Careem launches women drivers in conservative Pakistan

Wed Dec 7, 2016 4:23am EST
 
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By Waseem Sattar and Mubasher Bukhari

KARACHI/LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - Taxi-hailing service Careem introduced women drivers in Pakistan on Wednesday, a rare initiative in a deeply conservative Muslim country where women account for only 22 percent of the workforce.

Careem has a larger market share than rival Uber in most of the 32 cities in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan region in which it operates.

Now it has a new idea for Pakistan: taxis driven by women, who will pick up both male and female customers.

The start-up operates in the Pakistani cities of Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi.

"We want to give women the same opportunities and the same chance that men have of leveraging our platform to generate healthy income," said Careem's Pakistan General Manager Ahmed Usman.

Usman said seven women drivers had qualified to join the fleet but applications were open and the company hoped more would apply.

Zahra Ali, 30, heard about Careem from a friend and thought it would be an "honorable" way to support her two children, who she is raising alone since the death of her husband two years ago.

She had just enough money to buy a car and got her driving license this year.   Continued...

 
Yasmin Perveen, one of the pioneer women "captains" of Careem, adjusts back mirror while driving her car in Islamabad, Pakistan December 7, 2016.   REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood