Bengaluru: Online food ordering platform Zomato on Friday said it will increase the number of women in its delivery service to 10 percent by the end of the year as part of its workplace inclusivity initiatives. In a blog on its website, Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal said at present only about 0.5 per cent of its delivery partners are women.Also Read - Zomato Elevates Akriti Chopra as Co-Founder Ahead of IPO

“Today, we are taking our first step towards increasing the participation of women delivery partners in our fleet. To begin with, we have set ourselves a goal of reaching 10 percent participation by the end of 2021 starting with Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune,” he wrote.

Stating that Zomato has always been “about being a more inclusive workplace”, he said, “So far, our inclusive workplace initiatives haven’t taken into consideration the fact that only about 0.5 per cent of our delivery partners are women.”

Goyal, however, said adding more women to the delivery fleet “is not as simple as just targeting more women for this job. That’s because our policies need to change in order to attract and retain more women delivery partners”.

How to achieve the goal of 10 percent women participation

In order to achieve the goal of 10 per cent women participation in the three pilot cities, he said the company is working on four key initiatives of access to safety-related education and tools; contactless deliveries by default; extended support from its restaurant partners and SOS button and dedicated support.

Elaborating further, he said, “We are adding self-defense training to our onboarding process which will be mandatory for all women delivery partners to attend. In addition to our first-aid kits, all women delivery partners will be equipped with a handy hygiene and safety kit,” Goyal wrote.

Ensuring the safety of women delivery partners

As for contactless deliveries by default, he said to prioritise “our women delivery partners” safety, we will be making late evening deliveries contactless by default”.

Stating that many of its restaurant partners have come forward to ensure access to basic facilities such as separate washrooms for women delivery partners, Goyal said, “We will highlight these restaurants with a #GirlPower tag (tag subject to change) on our app to showcase their support towards an equitable society.”

Furthermore, he said, “Our women partners will be able to rate restaurants on ”ease and safety”. We will utilise these ratings to improve working conditions for all our delivery partners.”

Helpline for women partners

Zomato has also set up a 24×7 helpline – a dedicated support team for its women partners – which will focus on expediting emergency requests to prioritise safety.

“Once triggered, the SOS button, on our delivery partner app, will automatically share live location with our on-ground teams, central rider support, and other delivery partners in the vicinity,” Goyal said.

Reiterating the company’s intent on inclusivity, he wrote, “Hopefully, in the near future, people won’t generalise this community as delivery boys, and see them for what they truly are – delivery partners. We continue to take feedback from our delivery partners and work towards making necessary changes – big or small, whatever may be the need of the hour to make Zomato a more inclusive workplace.”