Making Travel Safer for Women
An industry pledge to make traveling safer
Technology has made traveling easier in so many ways. From finding tickets and places to stay, to getting insider reviews and local advice, the world has literally opened its doors. But there is undeniable risk associated with the digital travel frontier, especially for women traveling alone. Uber asked us to collaborate on a project designed to make this issue real to all the stakeholders in the travel industry [CEOs of hotels, airlines, mobility companies, etc.] attending a conference dedicated to making travel safer.
Making It Real
Red & Co. undertook a deep and comprehensive dive into this issue and found documented troubling stories [Girls LOVE Travel Facebook group] of the sexual harassment and physical harm girls and women endured at the hands of drivers, hotel staff, guides, and strangers on the street. What we heard was visceral and awful, and we realized that the best way to address the stakeholders would be to let this audience hear from the women themselves.
We sourced postcards and postage stamps from cities around the globe and hand-wrote messages detailing rape, harassment, and other grueling experiences that women had shared with us. Daughters writing to fathers, friends writing to friends, girlfriends writing to boyfriends or sisters about what befell them in cars, in hotels, and on the streets of everywhere from Istanbul, Hamburg, Los Angeles, São Paulo, Tokyo, Addis Ababa to Sochi. Over 200 personal cards in unique handwriting were installed at the conference to be held, read, and experienced.
Aligning with the cultural currents sparking conversations about sexual harassment, these stories created impactful opportunities for the senior staff of Uber, Airbnb, Hilton Hotels, Expedia, etc., to confront a difficult issue and workshop improvements that would better protect women travelers.
Women's Safety Film
Uber has improved its safety net on many levels. In-app 911, improved and annual driver screenings and randomized driver photos, privacy options like providing cross streets instead of specific addresses, and RideCheck, which detects when a trip goes off course, are new tools that help keep riders safer. In December 2019, Uber released a Safety Report taking the lead in having an honest and transparent conversation about issues that still need to be addressed.
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