Ride-hailing apps boost women’s income and ease their entry into the transportation industry—from which they have traditionally been shut out, according to a report by IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group.

The report, Driving Toward Equality: Women, Ride-Hailing, and the Sharing Economy, also shows how ride-hailing helps fill a transportation gap for women as riders—it improves their ability to travel to places that were previously inaccessible to them and provides women with mobility and greater sense of independence.

The findings also highlight how security concerns as well as economic and cultural barriers prevent women from fully participating in the ride-hailing industry. The report provides recommendations that the industry and other stakeholders can use to craft new policies to bring about gender parity in the industry. For example, if ride-hailing companies recruit additional female drivers, it could create a virtuous cycle by attracting more female riders.

The results of the study come at a time when new technologies and business models, such as the sharing economy, are opening alternative pathways to economic growth in emerging markets, offering opportunities to reshape lives while improving economies.

“The findings have significant implications for companies across the sharing economy that desire to better include, retain, and serve women,” says Stephanie von Friedeburg, Chief Operating Officer, IFC. “IFC calls upon companies in this space to gather and analyze gender-specific data, design platforms to better meet women’s needs, and develop best practices to reduce the economic disparities between women and men.”

The report explores how women and men participate in ride-hailing across six diverse economies: the Arab Republic of Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The report uses data from the ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc., surveys of more than 11,000 female and male users of the Uber app, and interviews with experts on gender, transportation, and the future of work.
Women drivers reported a higher income boost than men after taking up ride-hailing work:

the average income of women drivers once they began using the Uber app increased across each market studied, ranging from an 11 percent boost in Mexico to 29 percent in Egypt.

IFC’s work with ride-sharing companies is part of its efforts to use the power of evolving technologies and business models to create opportunities for all—ensuring that both women and men can participate equally in these new economic opportunities.