South Africa celebrates Women’s Month every year in August. A month that pays tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women.

This year’s commemoration was held under the theme: “The year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Realising Women’s Rights”.  Charlotte Maxeke was one of the first Black women graduates in South Africa and one of the first Black South Africans to fight for freedom from exploitative and social conditions of African women.

Realizing the importance of women rights, popular ride-hailing platforms Bolt and Uber are changing traditions on who takes riders for a spin Officially entering the South African market in 2013, the ride-hailing apps introduced convenience, accessibility, and affordability for public transport users.

Eight years later, Bolt and Uber have launched a women-only service that enables female passengers to request rides from female drivers only.

This new feature follows months of research and pilot programmes in the country with the aim of encouraging more women to be drivers. According to Bolt, the women’s requests will not be visible to male drivers and the rides will cost the same as the main Bolt category, with no surcharge.

“We are also excited that this feature enables current female drivers with the power of choice and convenience when using the Uber app,” says Uber Sub-Saharan Africa’s Head of Policy, Busisiwe Khaba.

Passengers and drivers using Bolt’s women-only service will be  protected by an app-integrated SOS emergency button made possible through Bolt’s partnership with safety platform Namola.

“Gender-based violence is a reality that women across South Africa contend with every day. Women-only shouldn’t be needed, but unfortunately, it is,” said Bolt manager Gareth Taylor.

Brand South Africa congratulates the innovation that will enable safe travelling for women.

Additional sources Sunday Times; News24; Gov.za