Yandex company blog

Celebrating the Women Driving Change

For International Women’s Day, we recognize the outstanding achievements of women everywhere. Today more than ever, women are creating change. And at Yandex, we want to extend an extra appreciation to our female community members creating change.

As part of our reflection for International Women’s Day 2020, we are sharing insights from just a small portion of our expansive community of outstanding women – women who drive for Yandex.Taxi.

As our ecosystem of intelligent products and services has grown, we have come to operate services that not only help users navigate their daily routines but have created new job opportunities as well.  Our ride-hailing service Yandex.Taxi, which works with third-party transportation carriers, has expanded to hundreds of thousands of drivers, and tens of thousands of those drivers are women.

In some countries where we operate Yandex.Taxi and our international brand, Yango, such as Finland, it may not surprise a passenger to get picked up by a woman. Still, in places like Russia, Armenia, or Uzbekistan the industry is heavily dominated by male drivers, and it’s been very rare for women to take up such an occupation – until recently.

Times are changing in the transportation industry with the introduction of on-demand services and other innovations. Flexible dynamics have encouraged more women into new roles and opportunities to work for themselves. Working as taxi drivers doesn’t come without challenges, but in talking to some of the female drivers, we learned more about their stories creating change in their lives and the taxi industry.  We’re thrilled to share their experiences in honor of all women who are committed to advancing their professions, harnessing their independence, and improving the world around them.

Olga in Yekaterinburg, Russia, decided to start driving a taxi after finding her age was a barrier to employment elsewhere.  

“I have a higher education teaching degree. At first, I worked as a physical education teacher and then as a business trader for 15 years but eventually I was ready to move on.  I wanted to find a salaried job, so at age 51 I entered the labor market. The first time I interviewed for a position I was rejected because of my age. They said I was too old.  I thought it was a mistake but when it happened the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth time, I realized that there was a pattern. I told employers that I had the required experience, but I was often told, ‘no, we don’t need you,’ or they offered me an alternative job with a low salary.”

“One day, after yet another interview, I called a taxi to take me home.  I told the driver about my difficulty finding a job, and he asked, ‘Can you drive a car?’ I told him, ‘Yes, I can.’ He suggested that I try working as a taxi driver. So I decided I would.  It was challenging at first and I reassured myself that this was a temporary job but as time went on, I became a better navigator. For over three years now, I’ve been working as a taxi driver.”

For Noribic of Almaty, Kazakhstan, driving for Yandex.Taxi offers her the flexibility to work when she wants while still having time to raise her children.

“For more than five years, I was an economist, but I couldn’t adhere to a strict workday schedule. I have three children, and in the morning they need to be taken to study club, then to school at lunchtime, and in the evening they must be taken home.  During the downtime from their schedules, I now work as a taxi driver; it's my hobby. I enjoy being independent."

Irina in Moscow found that being a taxi driver is an excellent way for her to have extra income by working at off-hours, all while having the opportunity to show the men in her family that a woman can work in a male-dominated field.

“This job is not the only source of income for me; I also rent an apartment. I'm a night owl, so I begin driving in the evening, around 5:00 pm. I love working at night when there are no traffic jams — I sometimes work until 2:00 am or 4:00 am and drive 12-15 trips per shift.  Passengers are often surprised that their driver is a woman.”

“My family still hasn't entirely accepted my job. My husband is a very ambitious man, and he thinks I got a job to spite him. ‘The wife is the driver!’  He asks me not to advertise it too much and tells his friends I’m writing a book. My three sons were also shy about it at first. But I’m not offended, and I’m trying to convince them - I really like my work.”

We’re proud that Yandex.Taxi is in a position to help empower women with a job that offers a unique level of flexibility.  Not only that, but we love that our female drivers are helping change perceptions of who a taxi driver can be, and what a woman can do, in many of the countries served by Yandex.Taxi.  To all female trailblazers everywhere, thank you for your inspiration, commitment, and change. Congratulations on all you are achieving big and small! Happy International Women’s Day 2020!