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Uganda’s New All-female Ride-hailing Service

The taxi service, dreamed up by a local woman who lost her logistics job at the start of the coronavirus outbreak, was launched in June and has recruited more than 70 drivers. They range from college students to mothers hoping to make good use of their secondhand Toyotas. “It started off as a joke, supported by close friends and family, but eventually the idea picked up,” said company spokeswoman Rebecca Makyeli. “They said, ‘Why not?’ So we called it Diva Taxi.” It’s uncommon to find women taxi drivers in Uganda, a socially conservative east African country where most women labor on farms or pursue work in the informal sector. Diva Taxi believes countless women are looking for job opportunities at a time of severe economic distress. The International Labor Organization has said women’s employment in developing countries is likely to be hit harder than men’s in the pandemic. A prospective driver must have a car in good condition and a smartphone equipped with the mobile app that clients use, along with a valid driver’s license and a certificate of good conduct issued by Interpol. With Diva Taxi, 85% of proceeds from a trip go to the driver, strikingly low in Uganda but part of a plan to size up the market, Makyeli said.