Women represent huge latent talent but workplace gender gaps still remain high. The World Economic Forum estimates that closing the gender gap would increase Egypt’s GDP by 34% and UAE’s GDP by over 12%.
Pakistan’s case is not too far off. according to the World Bank figures of 2016, only 30% of females are part of the labor force.
Moreover, the Mahbub ul Haq Development Report on women in Pakistan observes that the meagre 3% who are involved in the formal sector earn 38.6% less than their male counterparts, even if they have the same level of education and job roles. It comes as no surprise then, that Pakistan consistently ranks near the bottom in the Global Gender Gap Index.
Among the organizations that are actively engaged in bridging the gender gap at the workplace, one Careem operates in, perhaps, one of the most male-dominated of regions: the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan (MENATP).
Careem Pakistan is dedicated to playing its part in closing the gender gap; a 2016 IMF paper estimates that closing gender gaps in economic participation could boost GDP in Pakistan by up to 30 percent.
What Careem realizes is that bridging the wage gap has implications beyond simple economic gain; the creation of an equitable society has intrinsic value for the virtuous cycle it creates for gains in families, communities and national economies.
In the short time Careem has been in Pakistan, it has already made a mark as a game-changer. It has stood its ground when challenged, it has challenged the ground it stands on, and it has planted itself in the hearts of thousands of Pakistanis in less than two years.
Apart from being the first cab service of its kind in Pakistan, Careem has established itself as a vehicle of social change, and has set the wheels of progress in motion by unlocking avenues for a section of the population that was rarely associated with the cab industry: women.
The project titled #HerJourney aims to over new avenues for females across Pakistan and many women have responded.
We have recently met one of them – Fouzia Farrukh. You can view Fouzia’s experience in this video.
Fouzia Farrukh is a star; her children, husband, and Careem Pakistan agrees.
Fouzia has been a Careem Captain for more than two months, and is now the proud owner of a car, provided by Careem and JS Bank.
As seen in the video, Fouzia is confident on the road. She describes her experience as a captain as ‘safe, even with male passengers’. In an interview she said that she feels like her life has turned around ever since she took to the wheel.
“Work is not easy, especially as a mother with young children”, says Fouzia, “However, Careem allows me to work hours that suit me and has helped increase my household income”.
Fouzia is on the path of empowerment and is excited to welcome more women to the small but growing cohort of women Captains at Careem.
Careem Pakistan’s efforts to include marginalized sections of the population into the mainstream workforce have include the financing facility under the Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loan Scheme (PMYBL). The subsidized loans make owning a vehicle and securing a stable job a realistic goal for many. As of today, over 100 applicants – including four women – have secured a loan, among them Fouzia.
Careem’s goal is to have more than one thousand women captains on board by December, so much so that a women captain becomes as integrated in the labor as their male counterparts.