Uber’s Gender-Gap in Pay is a Non-Issue

I read this MIT Technology Review article that Uber has an algorithm to determine how much money its drivers make and that men end up making more money. Men drivers, the article states, make $1.24 more and hour than women drivers.  The reasons given are that men:

  • Are more likely to drive in higher-paying locations
  • Drive faster
  • Take on trips with shorter distances to the rider
  • Chose to drive longer trips

Now, it is apparent (if not absolutely true) that Uber has a culture of sexual harassment. They fired 20 people last year over such allegations.

It is also true that men and women have equal dignity and should be treated as such. Period. This does not mean that our bodies and psyches are the same, but the love and fairness that all people deserve, regardless of one’s sex, is equal.

However, if Uber, as a business, has an algorithm that they use to maximize their profits, and the same algorithm is used for all drivers, then it is an even playing field.  If the drivers who also happen to be men work in a way that makes them more money, then good for them.  Women are perfectly capable of doing the same.

I am sure there are scumbag employers who pay women less for doing the same exact work as men. But the point is here, is that some Uber drivers are working harder (or at least strategically gaming the system better) per hour than others.  They are not all doing the same work.  They are putting in the same amount of time, but they are not all doing the same work.

Maybe there’s something I’m not getting here, but this seems like a non-issue to grab people’s attention during this momentous time of “me too.”

I want all people to be treated fairly and to be loved, but without being able to read the hearts of the Uber data scientists who created the algorithm, I cannot see any grave injustice here.

What are your thoughts?

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