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Empowering Transformation: Female Riders, Vendors Changing The Landscape Through Inclusion

In today’s economy, women are playing an increasingly pivotal role, challenging traditional norms and breaking barriers in industries once dominated by men.

Pichaya Thongthua
Interim chief executive officer
foodpanda Malaysia

Over time, we have witnessed a significant shift, with more women championing roles that were previously considered exclusive to men.

One notable trend is the growing presence of women in the p-hailing industry, defying stereotypes and reshaping the landscape of transportation services.

As more women join the ranks of delivery partners and restaurant owners, they drive economic growth and foster greater inclusivity and diversity within the workforce.

For this year’s International Women’s Day, it is important to recognise the invaluable contributions of female delivery partners and restaurant owners in the food delivery industry.

Their resilience, dedication, and unwavering commitment are pivotal in shaping our platform and serving communities nationwide.

The gig economy has witnessed exponential growth in recent years, with p-hailing jobs becoming an essential source of income for millions nationwide.

Amidst the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the gig economy emerged as a lifeline for individuals seeking financial stability and independence.

In Malaysia, the gig economy has become a significant driver of economic growth, with over 100,000 new individuals participating and earning income via gig economy platforms as of the third quarter of 2023, compared with 266,222 individuals in 2022.

This sector has provided income opportunities for a huge number of Malaysians, highlighting its substantial impact on employment and livelihoods.

At foodpanda, we understand the importance of fostering an inclusive environment where everyone, regardless of gender, can thrive and succeed.

Over the years, there has been a significant increase in women joining the gig economy as delivery partners.

These women play a crucial role in facilitating the delivery of essential goods and services, enriching the lives of Malaysians across the country.

Gig work has always been a great way for individuals to earn a supplementary income
due to its flexible working hours, many female riders now view it as a viable springboard to other industries or entrepreneurship opportunities.

However, to fully harness the potential of the gig economy, it is essential to prioritise upskilling and professional development initiatives. This reminds me of Puan Rahayu, a 41-year-old mother of three, who transitioned from a school bus driver to becoming Bukit Jelutong’s first female foodpanda rider during the pandemic.

Inspired by local riders, she found flexibility in the job, working for a couple of hours and having the flexibility to ensure she had time to balance between her work and family. She is truly happy, especially knowing how customers value her delivery when she even got an RM100 tip from a customer, which is considered high for a foodpanda rider.

Puan Rahayu is definitely not alone, we have similar stories from many wonderful women delivery partners out there.

We prioritise the empowerment of our riders at foodpanda through a range of upskilling programs and benefits. For example, we recently partnered with Manipal International University (MIU) to provide our delivery partners with the opportunity to pursue tertiary education.

This initiative enables and allows our riders to enhance their skills and qualifications, opening doors to new career prospects and advancement.

Furthermore, we recognise the importance of language proficiency in enhancing job delivery capabilities and employability. In addition, Panda Purpose, a program designed to improve the English literacy skills of our delivery partners.

By investing in their professional development, we aim to enhance the value of our workforce and ensure the highest level of service for our customers.

By offering training and mentorship programs, we empower our female riders and vendors to overcome challenges and achieve their goals. Whether it’s navigating through bustling streets or managing their businesses, we provide them with the tools
and resources they need to thrive in a competitive market.

But our efforts extend beyond empowerment, they are about creating a more inclusive society where women are valued and respected for their contributions.

By celebrating the achievements of female riders and vendors, we inspire future generations of women to pursue their dreams and break barriers.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering female riders and vendors in the gig economy.

By providing them with the support, resources, and opportunities they need to succeed, we can create a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

Together, let us champion diversity, inclusion, and empowerment in the food delivery industry and beyond.

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