The Race is On for Ride Sharing Apps in Saudi Arabia to Hire Saudi Women ‘Captinahs’

As Saudi women settle into the driver’s seat, ride-sharing apps like Uber and Careem are gearing up for a race to hire women, according to reports.

Careem — the Middle East’s answer to Uber — is recruiting Saudi women to take the wheel and has received over 2,000 applications since announcing it would recruit so-called Captinahs — female drivers, according to CNN.

“We are delighted to welcome these pioneering women to Careem and in line with Careem’s commitment to create job opportunities across the wider Middle East region,” said Careem CEO Mudassir Sheikha in an email statement published in CNET.

But Careem faces tough competition for the valuable market share with global powerhouse Uber Technologies, Inc., the original disrupter in the space and one of the first successful gig economy networks.

More than 120,000 women have applied to obtain a driving license in Saudi Arabia as of Sunday, according to Gulf News.

Careem plans to create at least 60,000 jobs in its first roll-out phase.

But new drivers also means passengers, which will be one hurdle for ride-sharing apps to handle as they compete in the Saudi market. Before the ban was lifted, 70 percent of Careem’s customers in Saudi Arabia were women, according to Newsweek.