HONOLULU (kitv4) - Rideshare company Uber reports more women are signing up to be drivers on the platform. Just this year, the company reports an 80% increase among wahine employees.
It's a trend caused largely by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many women with children had to find alternative options for work because of childcare issues. They say driving for a rideshare company is a flexible way to be a working mom.
Laurel Opendack started driving for Uber four years ago after being a home school teacher for 18 years.
"I love people and I love the atmosphere in Hawaii. It's beautiful, people are kind," she said.
Uber conducted an internal survey last year among its drivers, half of the women who responded said they chose this company because there's flexibility they can't get from other jobs.
"You can work two hours, take a break, check on your kids, or your husband, or do your errands and then get back in the driver seat," Opendack said.
Opendack says there's usually an average of 11 riders when she works around eight hours. Being wahine, she believes, also has its advantages.
"I think women are trying to get out more often and they're very communicative. They like to speak to people, talk to people," she said.
Carrol Chang, Uber Head of Global Rideshare and Delivery Driver Operations, says women were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
In a statement, she told KITV4: "We understand the role Uber plays in people's lives by giving them access to earning opportunities upon demand."
Uber reports there's also an increase in male Uber drivers but only about 40%.