The gig economy has transformed the way we work, forging new opportunities for flexible employment across a wide variety of industries. However, as the gig economy continues to evolve, it becomes increasingly evident that there is a lack of equality in gig work, implicit within participation, pay, and overall experience. 

Gender Disparities: What are the Numbers?

It can be surmised that the flexibility, ease of worker substitution, and divisibility of gig work leaves little room for gender pay disparity, but research proves otherwise. 

A seminal working paper The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy: Evidence from over a Million Rideshare employs a sample size of over one million Uber drivers to analyze the gender earnings gap within one of the most prominent gig economy industries: ridesharing.

After extensive empirical investigation, it was documented that there is a 7% gender earnings gap favoring men amongst Uber drivers. 

While this disparity may not be directly attributed to explicit gender discrimination, the paper finds that “women’s relatively high opportunity cost of non-paid-work time and gender-based differences in preferences and constraints may sustain a gender pay gap.”

Potential Solutions: Addressing the Challenges

To bridge the gender gap in the gig economy, a multifaceted approach is required. 

Employers and platform providers must take proactive steps to promote pay transparency, implement fair and equitable hiring practices, and provide resources and support to help women navigate the unique challenges they face in the gig work landscape.

The first stage of constructing the bridge across the gender gap is to foster inclusive environments. Gig work platforms should prioritize the development of inclusive and protective environments to actively prevent the emergence of the gender earnings gap. 

One could argue that women exhibit greater caution when engaging with gig platforms such as Uber and DoorDash because of concerns related to safety. 

To address this, gig platforms can implement skill-building and educational training programs for workers, as well as establishing clear policies and procedures for addressing discrimination and harassment that can empower women in the gig economy. 

Upon registering for Uber or Doordash, platforms should clearly delineate severe consequences for any instances of discrimination or harassment against gig workers by customers. This proactive measure aims to deter inappropriate behavior and ensure a safe and respectful working environment for all involved parties.

Advocating for Policy Changes

Policymakers and legislative bodies can also play a role in bridging the gender gap. Policymakers can implement legislation that ensures equal pay for equal work, as well as the social programs to address the unique needs of gig workers, especially women.


Article by
Zoe Maung
Content Writer and Researcher

A young asian woman with long hair wearing a dark blazer with white shirt.