In a bid to further its inclusivity agenda, foodtech unicorn Zomato said on Friday that women would constitute at least 10% of its overall delivery partners by the end of the year. Women account for less than one per cent of the food ordering and delivery company’s feet-on-street workforce at present.
“We have always been about being a more inclusive workplace,” Zomato CEO and co-founder Deepinder Goyal said in a blog post. “So far, our inclusive workplace initiatives haven’t taken into consideration the fact that only about 0.5% of our delivery partners are women.”
Zomato will kick off the initiative by onboarding women delivery partners in three pilot cities – Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune. It expects to expand the effort later, depending on the response.
In order to increase women participation and retention, Goyal said, Zomato will add self-defense training to its onboarding process, which will be mandatory for all women delivery partners. It will also provide a hygiene and safety kit, along with the regular first-aid kits, and set up a dedicated helpline which will work 24X7 and focus on expediting SOS requests from women partners.
“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 in the blog post.
On the delivery partners side, Zomato will make late evening deliveries contact-less by default, while on the restaurants side, listings on the app will be highlighted with a #GirPower tag. Restaurants will get the tag after coming forward to ensure access to basic facilities such as separate washrooms for women partners.
Additionally, women partners would also have the option to rate restaurants on ease and safety parameters, which will be utilized by the company to further improve working conditions for delivery partners.
This is not the first move from Zomato to be more inclusive and diverse.
Back in April, the company said its eight-member board had added five independent directors, four of whom were women. Meanwhile, last year, it introduced the policy of ten menstruation leaves per year for women and transgender employees. The company also offers 26-week paid parental leave to all its employees, including new fathers, surrogate or adoptive parents, and same-sex parents. Earlier this month, it elevated former CFO Akriti Chopra to a co-founder, making her the fifth and sole woman co-founder at the company.
The Gurugram based company is in line for an initial public offering (IPO) this year. In late April, it filed its draft red herring prospectus with markets regulator SEBI for a Rs 8,250 crore offering (IPO). The IPO would be the first for an India-born foodtech company.