Taxi-hailing service Careem launched cabs driven by women in Pakistan, Reuters reported. The move is seen as a rare initiative in a conservative Muslim country where women account for only 22% of the workforce.
The firm currently 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,” Careem’s Pakistan general manager Ahmed Usman told Reuters.
Usman said seven women drivers had qualified to join the fleet but applications were open and the company hoped more would apply.
According to Usman, in Karachi, which is among Careem’s largest markets, demand for secure taxis is particularly strong among women.
“If an organization is offering security for women…that is important,” said Aasia Abdul Aziz who joined Careen as a driver, and was quoted in the report. “Especially in a city like Karachi where no work can be done in the absence of proper security.”
Recently, Careem—which launched operations in Turkey in October—said it plans to increase presence in 15 more cities in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan.
Within GCC, Careem is extending its presence to six more cities in Saudi Arabia, its largest market. Currently, Careem cabs can be booked in 23 cities across the Kingdom.
In Egypt, the app will expand to three more cities. Egypt is one of the biggest markets for tech players like Careem.
In Turkey, initially, the ride-sharing firm began serving users in the cities of Istanbul, Ataturk, and Sabiha.
Launched in Dubai in 2012, Careem has a global force of 90,000-plus drivers and more than four million users registered through its mobile app.
It competes across the MENA region with US-based ride-sharing app Uber and other apps.
The company claims a larger market share than rival Uber in most of the 32 cities in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan region where it operates. The markets where it wants to expand operations include Oman and a number of North African countries.
Careem also recently unveiled its new brand identity, marking its four-year anniversary. The rebranding is an attempt to build an offline presence that will complement its online presence, the firm said
Launched in 2012 by Sheikha and fellow McKinsey & Co alumni Magnus Olsson, Careem has a fleet of more than 90,000 drivers as of date. It also claims to have more than four million users registered through its mobile app. Its largest markets are Cairo, Karachi, and Riyadh.