Yandex 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!

International Women’s Day 2019: Celebrating Ambitious Women

People across the world tomorrow are celebrating International Women’s Day, honoring the achievements and significance of all women.  Locally in Russia and most other countries in which Yandex operates, the holiday, often referred to as March 8th, is celebrated as a public holiday.  Throughout the week, members of the Yandex community have been celebrating their female colleagues with gifts and acknowledgements of their hard work.

At Yandex, we are honored to work with thousands of ambitious and talented women across our global offices and the entire tech ecosystem.  Today especially we thank you for all you do.  In honor of the holiday, we’re also celebrating the ambitions of the billions of women around the world.  As we take this day to acknowledge all that women have accomplished, we wanted to recognize the drive and determination of women to realize their goals.

One way we can see millions of women striving to reach their ambitions is through the search trends among our female users.  Especially for the formative young adult years, women across Russia are using the internet to advance their professional development.  We’re inspired to see millions of women searching for ways to teach themselves new languages, whether it be English and German or Python and Java.  Women are also using our search engine to solve complex IT problems, entering queries such as “how to parse JSON.”  Women are searching for information related to their studies as well, entering queries such as “phonetic parsing of words,” and many are asking about running a business by searching for resources such as business plan samples.

We admire women across the world who set out to achieve their personal and professional goals.  Today we wanted to highlight this by featuring a profile on Dasha, a young computer programmer in Russia who is just one of these driven women who has used the internet to help realize her ambitions.  

Like millions of other users, Dasha was seeking resources to grow.  “I worked in an office job for a few months before deciding I wanted to do something more engaging and work with like-minded people.  Web development has always fascinated me, so I began looking for ways to start a job in this field.”

Dasha went online to find resources for starting a career in web development.  Through her research, Dasha came across opportunities on Coursera, one of the leading platforms for online education, and began taking programming courses.  She took a class on HTML and Javascript offered by Yandex in partnership with the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.  Within two months, Dasha taught herself the basics of web development through a course which typically takes around five months to complete.

Following her studies, Dasha started working in web programming, where her ambitions and independence continue to be essential assets.  “This field is growing rapidly, and the profession of a web developer encourages constant independent learning.  Also, front-end development has a creative component, which is a plus for me.  Absolutely everything I learned in the online courses was useful for me in my new profession."

Here at Yandex, we’re inspired by stories like Dasha’s where women are self-motivated to realize their ambitions.  To see young women like Dasha reaching their goals is just one reason Yandex is a strong supporter of education.  We offer many avenues for aspiring learners to follow in her footsteps with both online and offline opportunities:

  • Yandex’s Coursera lessons in data science and programming provide learners with the tools they need to become web development experts.
  • Master’s level students can enroll in the Yandex School of Data Analysis (YSDA), a free program in Computer Science and Data Analysis, with branches located in Russia, Belarus, and Israel.  
  • The Ilya Segalovich Award and Scholarship for students and researchers encourage study in computer science by recognizing academic achievement.
  • Yandex.Practicum (Russian), currently in testing, offers long-term, professional courses on web development for anyone interested in advancing their skills.

We enthusiastically encourage any women or men interested in learning new data science skills to take advantage of these educational resources, along with any others they may find online.  

Happy International Women’s Day from Yandex to the millions of women around the world who are taking the initiative to shape both their future and ours!