To protest Saudi Arabia’s $3.5 dollar investment in Uber (which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this week) Saudi women took to social media, posting screenshots of themselves deleting the app from their phones. Saudi women are of course no strangers to fun ways of protesting the driving ban, like this hilarious viral video we covered earlier this month.
For its part, Uber says that expansion in the region could be a boon for Saudi women, who make up 80 percent of Uber’s customers in the kingdom. Jill Hazelbaker, an Uber spokeswoman, told the New York Times, “Of course we think women should be allowed to drive. In the absence of that, we have been able to provide extraordinary mobility that didn’t exist before – and we’re incredibly proud of that.” Saudi Arabian activists, however, aren’t sold. Hatoon al-Fassi, a Saudi women’s historian at Qatar University says, “This institutionalises women’s inferiority and dependency, and it turns women into an object of investment.” GOOD Magazine calls it a collusion between the government and Uber to profit from a captive market.
All things considered, the general worldwide suspicion towards Uber’s motives isn’t exactly shocking. This week, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said to his employees, in response to outrage over his joining Donald Trump’s business advisory group, that Uber will “partner with anyone in the world as long they’re about making transportation in cities better, creating job opportunities, making it easier to get around, getting pollution out of the air and traffic off the streets.” Oh well, in that case.
Americans have also been using #deleteUber this week after Uber was accused of strikebreaking in New York City. While NYC taxi drivers called a strike in solidarity with refugees and others detained at JFK after Donald Trump’s executive order over a travel ban imposed on seven Muslim-majority countries, Uber tweeted that they were turning off surge pricing at JFK airport. (Uber later denied that it was an attempt to sabotage the strike.)