Contxto – The competition for ride-hailing supremacy in Latam continues. Yet this time around it’s not a matter of a new feature, nor a mind-blowing investment. Instead, Brazilian 99 announced the launch of its “More Women Driving” campaign. As the name glaringly suggests, its purpose is to draw in a greater number of female drivers onto the platform. 

According to 99’s Chief Marketing Officer, Stella Brant, currently only 5 percent of the transport company’s drivers are women. 

In any case, as part of these efforts, 99 has been executing various strategies to encourage female empowerment via its platform. Examples include organizing meetings covering driver and passenger safety in Brazil. As well as created videos sharing the stories of some of 99’s female chauffeurs.

Uber also wants in

The dominant narrative in this campaign is to help women achieve financial independence, work flexibility, and empowerment. Which, no doubt, is fantastic. 

However, it’s a familiar tune that’s been sung before by none other than Uber, earlier this year in October. At the time, this ride-hailing giant was presenting the pilot launch of its Elas na Dirição or “They Drive” platform in São Paulo. 

Through this new app feature, women would have access to additional resources if they chose to become partnering drivers. Among these benefits are promotions, as well as the option of only accepting female passengers.

Pilot tests were carried out in November. But, Uber hopes to expand this service to other parts of Brazil in 2020.

Obviously, with this new feature, Uber wants more female drivers; its current base of female chauffeurs stands at 6 percent.

So, to a degree, 99 will be competing with Uber to gather more partnerships with women.

Which brings me to my next point. 

Didi and Uber duke it out in Brazil

As some may recall, Chinese Didi Chuxing bought 99 in January of 2018. Because 99 was already well-known in Brazil, it’s become a key stronghold for Didi in this Latin American country.

As Didi (through 99) and Uber face off in Brazil, an important battle to be fought is winning the trust of female drivers and passengers. One way of achieving this is by getting more women behind the wheel.

This is a good start. But it’s far from an ideal solution.

What all platforms of this nature need is a thorough screening process of anyone (regardless of their gender) who becomes a registered partner on its app. 

Likewise, I genuinely hope both Didi and Uber (or any ride-hailing company for that matter) follow-up properly on female drivers reporting misbehavior from passengers.

Otherwise, these businesses are missing the bigger picture.

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