News Nyanga teen starts e-hailing service for women, by women,...

Nyanga teen starts e-hailing service for women, by women, to fight GBV

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A teenaged resident of the Nyanga informal settlement in the Western Cape has started an e-hailing service operated by women, for women. The Women Go App only employs female drivers and only caters to female clients in an effort to reduce the number of incidents of gender based violence (GBV) that emerge after women get into ride-sharing vehicles with male drivers who intend to care them harm. 

‘Woman Go’ e-hailing service aims to fight GBV

Speaking to eNCA, founder Asiphe Mkhefa said that she has seen enough news reporting of women being placed in jeopardy and being subsequently affected by GBV having been forced to have male drivers chauffeur them from point A to point B, and has therefore decided to take action. 

“I figured that I need to create a society where women can actually feel safe in their own taxi services, and that they won’t have any fear because I know from experience that when I get into a taxi full of men I get so scared,” said Mkhefa.

“The stories I read about women who were kidnapped while being driven home or a driver making uncomfortable remarks towards women passengers drove me to start this company,” she says.

She said that the environment at taxi-ranks is daunting for women, who are subjected to misogynistic cat-calling and intimidation.  

“Women are slut-shamed for wearing mini skirts at taxi ranks and they have to always think twice before taking other e-hailing services where the majority of drivers are men,” Mkhena told Iol

Taxi intimidation leads founder to relocate

Speaking of intimidation, the culture she is speaking about has been abundantly proven to be true based on her need to relocate herself and her family due to persistent threats received from members of local taxi associations since she launched Woman Go

She told eNCA that taxi associations are unhappy that she is endeavouring to provide an alternative service to theirs and capture part of their market, and has since changed address to avoid being further harassed. She says that she is now simply focusing her energy on completing her matrix studies. 

She hasn’t stopped thinking about the potential of her digital service though, and wants to expand her offering when she is better positioned to do so. 

Drivers, passengers safer from GBV 

Drivers already in her empty have applauded the effort and say that they are happy to carry out the work safe in the knowledge that there are safety measures in place to protect them. 

“When you get to a certain location, you feel a certain type of way that I am uneasy about being here, but if that’s the case, you can just cancel the trip and leave,” said driver Sivile Hono. 

Passenger Thembisa Mayongo said that Mkhena is providing an invaluable service that makes women like herself feel safer. 

“For me, it is a very good idea and a very safe environment for women. [Especially] for me, as a person with experience of having had uncomfortable drives with men,” a passenger told eNCA. 

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