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UN Women Cancels Uber Partnership

Uber's "unprecedented plan for advancing gender equality" loses a key supporter.

Posted on March 20, 2015, at 5:46 p.m. ET


Uber's partnership with UN Women lasted little more than a week.

Eight days after Uber allied with UN Women and made a bold promise to create 1 million jobs for women on its ride-hailing platform by 2020, the gender equality organization has abandoned the initiative, BuzzFeed News has confirmed.

Responding to public outcry over Uber's safety track record with female passengers and drivers, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka canceled the organization's partnership with the company.

"I want to assure you that not only are we listening, we are aligned," Miambo-Ngcuka said in a speech. "And I also want to assure you that UN Women will not accept the offer to collaborate on job creation with Uber."

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UN Women's decision not to move forward with the Uber partnership came just six days after the International Transport Workers' Federation sent it an open letter expressing concern over the types of economic opportunities Uber would provide.

The letter, issued two days after the announcement read, in part:

"By classifying drivers as ‘independent contractors’, Uber denies them basic protections, from minimum wage pay to health care and other benefits on the job. Women already make up a high proportion of the precarious workforce, and increasing informal, piecemeal work contributes significantly to women’s economic dis-empowerment and marginalization across the globe."

Though UN Women sought out a partnership with Uber initially, the organization appears to have caved under pressure from the ITF.

Reached for comment, an Uber spokesperson said the company will continue to pursue its goal of providing 1 million jobs for women.

"Uber was proud to sponsor the UN Women event last week, and we share their vision of accelerating economic opportunity for women globally," a spokesperson said. "As part of our commitment to this vision, Uber set an ambitious goal to create 1,000,000 jobs for women as drivers on the Uber platform by 2020."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.