On the streets of Cairo there will be a new ride-hailing platform that should rival big companies like Careem and Uber, but with key differences. This new company is locally-based, will provide their services only to women, and only hire women as drivers. Called Fyonka (Ribbon) the new service just recently launched.
Since the company's soft launch of its app on Nov. 15, it has logged more than 400 rides. “We aim at providing a safe means of transportation for girls and women whether they are clients or drivers,” Fyonka co-founder Abdullah Hussein told Al-Monitor.
Through market research, the Fyonka team found that there are 400,000 drivers working for the US-based Uber and Dubai-based Careem, which began operating in Egypt in 2014. Among them only 10,000 are women.
“There is an issue of the lack of opportunity for women in this profession,” Hussein said. He hopes that Fyonka will reduce the gender gap among ride-hailing drivers overall by attracting more women to the industry.
Hussein said the dearth of female drivers in part stems from women's parents or husbands objecting to them riding with male customers. Some women are apprehensive about having to drive passengers to destinations where they might not feel safe.
Fyonka is not only about providing a safe environment for clients and drivers, but also empowering women in other ways. To this end, the company will allocate a share of its profits to help promote small businesses run by women as well as to fight illiteracy among women in rural villages.
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