By Mihir Shah
In 2016 we onboarded our first female delivery partner in Pune. Since then we have been striving to build inclusivity and diversity across the platform with a commitment towards increasing the number of women delivery partners in Swiggy’s delivery fleet.
To bring about necessary changes, we ensure to stay cognizant of the challenges our women delivery partners face, especially with respect to access and safety. Creating an environment that encourages women to consider delivering with Swiggy is a priority, and here are some of our recent efforts in that direction.
Access to vehicles
Several women who are interested in onboarding with Swiggy either lack access to personal motor vehicles, or don’t have a driver’s license at all. We’re addressing this issue in two ways. First, assuring them that delivery by bicycle is a viable option for short-distance orders. In fact, 22% of our women delivery partners deliver on bicycles. Second, we’re also working with electric mobility partners to facilitate EV cycles and bikes (sub 25kmph) on rent.
Paid time-off during periods
Discomfort from being out and about on the road while menstruating is probably one of the most underreported reasons why many women don’t consider delivery to be a viable gig. To support them through any menstruation related challenges, we’ve introduced a no-questions-asked, two-day paid monthly period time-off policy for all our regular female delivery partners. This industry-first initiative gives our female DEs the option to voluntarily take time-off during their menstrual cycle and be eligible for a minimum earnings guarantee during that time
Access to hygienic restrooms
Our partners, both men, and women spend a considerable time on the move and often don’t have easy access to clean and safe public restrooms. We have worked with restaurant partners in Cochin and are expanding this to other large cities to address this need gap. More recently, we have also partnered with Shell to provide our delivery partners access to restrooms across all their petrol stations in the country. We thank restaurant partners and the good folks at Shell who understand the importance of enabling this and urge more to do the same for the ecosystem.
Measures for safety
The safety of our delivery partners is of utmost importance to us. Measures like ‘safe zones’ and capping delivery hours at 6 PM for female delivery partners were implemented. However, we realized that this move limited true inclusivity, while also restricting female partners from delivering during one of the most lucrative slots – the dinner peak. We’re changing that by bettering our security processes. Starting with Bangalore where we have the highest number of women delivery partners, we’re opening up dinner slot deliveries. It will be extended to other cities after we complete training our partners there. Some of the measures we have in place include –
– Robust virtual safety training modules that cover situational training, Swiggy SOS-emergency support usage guidelines, and important safety dos & don’ts.
– Both female and male delivery partners have the option to decline deliveries if they deem an area to be unsafe – no questions, no disincentives. We are spending time constantly communicating this so that partners know that their safety is our top priority.
– An SOS service is available on the Delivery Partner App that instantly connects one to a Swiggy helpline, local police, or an ambulance in the case of a medical emergency.
We are happy to share that a large number of women delivery partners are already benefiting from the above changes. An NPS survey done at the end of September highlighted a 23-point jump in satisfaction among our women delivery partners from six weeks ago. In the same period, the number of women delivery partners in Bangalore has doubled with other cities also seeing a small growth.
While we still have a long way to go to make this space more inclusive for all genders, we strive to make changes like these frequently, so that we can all get there sooner.
“Swiggy understands the pain of a woman in the field and period time-off will definitely motivate more women to choose this platform and be independent. I am happy to be working with a company that keeps women empowerment in mind.” – Komal, Chennai
“Opening up dinner time deliveries is a good opportunity for those who want to earn more and have the time to do deliveries in the evening. Of course, safety is very important and so I’m happy that Swiggy is prioritising that and training us. We can reject orders if we are not comfortable delivering in a particular location. This will help us significantly increase our earnings and support our financial goals while not compromising on safety.”- Chandana R K , Bangalore