We teach our girls to sit in the back seat of a taxi – just incase the driver doesn’t know how to keep his hands to himself.
We teach our girls not to give their exact address – just incase the driver sits outside the house, saying, “I know where you live.”
We teach our girls to be friendly with the driver – but not too friendly – just incase the conversation turns personal and he asks if she's single.
Fed up with teaching her daughter how not to get assaulted on her way home, George McEncroe decided to start a female-only rideshare app called Shebah.
“My daughter had a driver who looked in the rearview mirror and licked his lips at her. I know she would love an alternative where some mumsy-figure like me would roll up in their ugg boots and pull her out of the King Street night club and drop her home,” says McEncroe, a single mother of four.
It was a mixture of anger and inspiration that drove her to launch the all-female network of drivers and passengers earlier this year. She found that only 10% of Uber drivers and 4% of taxi drivers are women.
Shebah hopes to give women an alternative to male drivers. “It gives girls travelling on their own or in groups the option of not being asked if they have a boyfriend or being told they smell good,” says McEncroe.
It also gives the female drivers a flexible source of income. There are McEncroe women in the process of becoming Shebah drivers. “They can make between $600 and $800 a week and can work when they want and where they want,” explains McEncroe, who’s been overwhelmed with positive feedback and started the hashtag #frontseat.
“I got a letter from a parent saying my daughter can take a swimming scholarship because of Shebah. We couldn’t as family get her to the pool at 4am and there was no way she was getting in a taxi or an Uber, Shebah solved the problem,” says McEncroe, who is sharing her story at the 3% Conference in Sydney on August 31.
The conference celebrates the value of women, as both consumers and workplace talent. “It’s so important for women to see themselves as the inventors, not just the consumers,” says McEncroe. “I always tell girls to see themselves as the people who made Instagram – not just the people who are on Instagram.”
McEncroe is most looking forward to hearing from other women at the 3% Conference, “To be fully immersed with like-minded women is heaven on a stick for me.”
The 3% Conference is being held on August 31 in Sydney: 3percent.com.au