Hundreds of thousands of female drivers have joined ride-hail firm DiDi Chuxing since 2020

Image credit: DiDi

China’s leading mobility and ride-hailing platform, DiDi Chuxing, has said that since the outbreak of COVID-19 it has seen an uptake in women who have signed onto the platform to work as drivers.

The news comes as the firm announced the creation of the DiDi Diversity and Inclusion Network ("DiDi D&I Network" or “DDIN”), formally launched on 31 March, which they say lays the foundation to build a more diverse and inclusive workplace and community in its Chinese and international markets.

In a letter to employees from Will Cheng, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, and Jean Liu, President and Chief People Officer, the company pledged its support for DDIN to lead a series of programs and initiatives to raise diversity and inclusion awareness, and to develop tangible diversity guidance in human resources development, and drive inclusive practices in product design and driver support.

DiDi D&I Network aspires to build a workplace that supports the career development of all employees; to make everyone feel a sense of belonging; and to create a diverse and inclusive cooperation ecosystem throughout the industry value chain, a spokesperson for the company said.

The network, which includes a chapter for DiDi’s international unit, will be sponsored by steering groups consisting of employee representatives, as well as company executives to support a series of forums and initiatives throughout its Chinese and international markets, around the three pillars of workplace, workforce and community.

In particular, they say the network will seek to positively impact broader communities by sponsoring women and minority driver development programs and align technology and product functions to be inclusive to underrepresented and disadvantaged groups.

Image credit: DiDi

The DiDi D&I Network is an expansion of the DiDi Women’s Network (“DDWN”), Chinese tech industry’s first women’s career development organization, created in 2017. Since its inception, DDWN has sponsored women’s career development and mentoring programs, parenthood support policies, and new diversity awareness coaching projects throughout the company.

Externally, DDWN has played a growing role in advancing women friendly technology and services, engaging women drivers, and supporting women healthcare workers in the anti-COVID fights.

The results of a DiDi’s survey showed that COVID-19 has brought about a higher percentage of women drivers registering on DiDi’s mobility platforms to cope with economic uncertainties during the pandemic. In China and Brazil, 265,000 and 150,000 new women drivers registered on DiDi in 2020.

As DiDi expands its mobility and delivery businesses into Latin America, Japan, Australia, Russia and South Africa, a more culturally diverse employee base has also strengthened and expanded the company’s internal diversity dialogue.

Image credit: DiDi

Cheng and Liu reaffirmed diversity and inclusion as a core value of DiDi. The said: “Every step throughout our safety campaigns, COVID fights and the new growth and innovation drive, we have learnt and benefited enormously from embracing different internal and external voices and enlarging our empathy for more stakeholder groups. Such capacities are crucial to building a resilient organization that has the strength to forge genuine solidarity and ride out uncertainties and business cycles.”