Careem becomes first big tech-player from MENA to offer 12-week maternity leave

All three co-founders of Careem have used different public forums to share their desire to turn Careem into an institution, they don’t want it to be just any other company. Its not just Careem though, many founders and CEOs from MENA think the same way. However there is one thing that sets Careem apart. Its their ability to make concrete and consistent efforts to turn themselves into an institution and probably first of its kind from the region.

One part of these efforts is directed towards women. Creating more employment opportunities for them by introducing Female Captains in Pakistan & Egypt, taking different measures to ensure the safety of its female riders across all its markets and now on International Women’s Day, they have announced the launch of CWEEN, the Careem Women Empowerment & Engagement Network.

With this initiative, Careem has become the first big tech-player from MENA to double maternity leave to 90 days or 12 weeks. By law in most of the markets where Careem operates, they’re required to pay for 45 days only. To put things in context, Google & Facebook which are among the best places to work at in United States offer 18 weeks and 17 weeks respectively so its definitely a big leap forward for Careem.

Not just that, they’re going to increase the no. of female engineers in the company significantly by the end of this year. Currently the women represent 26% of their total workforce and 8% of their leadership roles and the company is clearly not happy about it even though these numbers are on-par with the global standards.

In an official statement about the announcement, Abdulla Elyas, Co-Founder and Chief People Officer of the company said:

We looked at ourselves internally and realized that we have some work to do. We fully support gender equality in the workplace and whilst our statistics show that we are on par with the global standards, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to break out of the norm to trigger a change. In order to achieve this, we’re going to extend maternity leave from 45 days to 3 months.

Careem has taken the first step. Let’s see if other tech employers in MENA will follow.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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