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Uber's Impact on Saudi and the Implications for Women

Uber is the car service company that has completely turned the cab experience on it's head. Google Play's description is: "Uber is your private driver in more than 50 cities and 20 countries. An entirely new and modern way to travel is at your fingertips." A Saudi friend of mine happened to post a link that I thought would be a great inspiration to add to this particular challenge: Uber in Riyadh. How will this work in a country where women are legally not allowed to have driver's licenses, are forbidden to drive a car alone (as religious doctrine is interpreted) and arrest is a consequence if caught, and where women must be accompanied by a male relative when traveling? What are the implications of Uber in Saudi Arabia?

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This is the ultimate "purposeful disruption" by Uber and it could potentially have been an unexpected one. We'll have to wait and see, but it's exciting and empowering to consider that something like this could possibly impact the lives of these Saudi women for time to come. Read full article from Slate.com here:  http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/02/25/will_women_be_able_to_use_uber_in_riyadh_saudi_arabia.html 

In the US, the exposure to something like Uber is not second guessed. It does not impact us in the way that it would a gender-based country. I'm going to speak to my friend to get her thoughts and opinions on this new development. I'll be sure to post updates.

I do believer that there's inspiration to be found, but I leave a list of things to question and evaluate as we progress through the research and ideation parts of the challenge:
  • Would a low cost transportation be a viable option for women and girls in these low income countries?
  • Uber is smartphone-controlled so what alternate options could be considered should smartphones not be available?
  • Is a glorified car service enough to disrupt the fear and create confidence and/or positive feelings among women?
  • How could this impact gender equity?

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